FAQ – Deep Mulch Vegetable Gardening (Ruth Stout Method)

FAQ – Deep Mulch Vegetable Gardening (Ruth Stout Method)

TRANSCRIPT: http://backtoreality.org/2020/06/22/faq-deep-mulch-vegetable-gardening-ruth-stout-method/
In this video I’d like to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the Ruth Stout method, and about growing no-dig vegetables under mulch.

1. (1:00) Where are you located?
2. (1:34) When you say “hay”, do you actually mean “straw”?
3. (4:02) What do you mean by “spoiled hay”?
4. (5:29) Does deep mulch eliminate ALL weeding?
5. (6:40) What about weed seeds that come IN the hay?
6. (7:41) How much water?
7. (8:18) What about “unwanted visitors”?
8. (9:19) Are the potatoes less nutritious or less flavourful?
9. (10:05) Can you grow other vegetables like this?
10. (11:27) Make sure your natural mulch is ACTUALLY natural

Previous videos:
Plant Hardiness Zone, Rainfall, and Other Important Information

Where We Get FREE Garden Mulch

Our Deep-Mulch Vegetable Garden After TWO MONTHS of Complete Neglect

Companion Planting Asparagus and Strawberries (No-till, Ruth Stout)

Spring Prep in our “No-Work” Garden, and an EASIER way to Spread Mulch

Preparing our Hugelkultur Garden for Winter: Chop and Drop

The Ruth Stout Method of Permaculture

337 lbs of Potatoes! NO digging, NO watering, and VERY LITTLE work!

Planting Potatoes in a Ruth Stout Permaculture Garden (QUICK and EASY)

Results from our NO DIG and NO WATER potato experiment (Ruth Stout Method)

Companion Planting Carrots, Radishes and Onions in a Ruth Stout (HAY-ONLY) Garden

Results and Lessons Learned from our Carrot, Onion, and Radish Experiment

Winter Ruth Stout Permaculture Update and HAY vs STRAW


  1. K Wall on May 8, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    Really appreciate the clarity and care you put into your videos!

  2. Lisa Brooks on May 8, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    What are the right questions to ask about hay/straw and what are the right answers? We did straw bale gardening and the first year it was great. got an organic fertilizer and things grew wonderfully without weeds. The next year, we couldnt find …or remember the name of the fertilizer that we uses and the bales seemed to be wound differently. Needless to say, we did not have good growth results.

  3. Angelika on May 8, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    Using either straw or hay will yield an absolutely incredible amount of weed seeds. I found this out the hard way. Now I put down cardboard first and put homemade compost on top of that, about 6 in before planting. I am sure Ruth Stout method has worked for others, but I just don’t see how unless you can find a source free of seeds.

  4. Pickle on May 8, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    "Expiry date….. Yesterday" HAHAHA love your sense of humour! thank you for the video, much appreciated XO

  5. Aryan Toon on May 8, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Living in the south where deadly venomous snakes like to hide in grass like that I pretty much am going to stick with burying my vegetables. We have very dangerous snakes around here and they love to burrow up in grass like that.

    I think I will stick with in ground as it’s much safer for me and my family. Having a section cleared out so that nothing can really hide makes it safer for my parents, who are much older now.

  6. Howard Zeller on May 8, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    Can I use Timothy hay ?

  7. Barbara Carbone on May 8, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks. Love all your vids. I live on Long Island in New York state.

  8. Debra Milton on May 8, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    I used hay a few yrs ago and my plants developed mold on the leaves. This yr I’m trying dead/dried-out pine straw.

  9. Maggie Olsen on May 8, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    Yes! Please do the follow-up video on the rhizomal grass! I have found the exact same thing here in NZ.

    Other mulching I’ve tried:
    1. bamboo leafy tops as mulch: Didn’t provide good enough coverage for weed suppression. The woody stems make it difficult to plant or weed and take ages to decompose.
    2. leaf mulch in the greenhouse: Way too wet. Caused an explosion in slugs and some issues with stem rot when the mulch was pulled in too close. I also suspect it slowed down growth as it kept the soil cooler than it would be if it was exposed to sunlight. However, I do have several greenhouse frogs now, which is a cool.
    3. cardboard + leaves to suppress convulvulus/morning glory: surprisingly successful after the second year of mulching. Down to two stems pulled this year for the entire bed (edit: down from hundreds).


  10. DailyDough on May 8, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Your videos have the best animations!!

  11. Ameer ul Islam on May 8, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    do you think bell pepper / capsicum grow here? And I live in Bangladesh, will this method work in our condition?

  12. Vivian on May 8, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Very straight forward answers! 👍👍

  13. Paula Gardner on May 8, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    I garden in a hot, dry, windy climate where wheat straw is readily available and cheap. I use it to mulch heavily and have found that it packs down just fine and will stay in place on my beds all summer and even through the winter. And, FYI, damp bales of hay and straw can spontaneously combust, so it’s best to break up any damp ones.

  14. Tia Phillips on May 8, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for your very well-researched and informative videos. I just found your channel when searching for information about the Ruth Stout method. Her method and Paul Gautschi’s method sound like they would work very well for me. I just need to find a good source of straw and/or wood chips near me. (I will check out your linked videos.) I will continue to watch your videos to learn more. I really appreciate what you are both doing and for sharing such great information. (I am in Indiana, by the way.)

  15. Leslie Mouriquand on May 8, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    This was very helpful! Thanks!

  16. Frankster Nowatzke on May 8, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    In regards to the seeds of weeds within the hay, if you ask the farmer for purchasing the 2nd or 3rd "cutting" of the year, you should have less weed growth within the hay. It is what the animals (cows & horses), which I had been familiar with when growing up on a mid-west farm in Northern Indiana. The animals preferred the later cutting over the first cuttings bales of hay.

  17. Dane Caldwell on May 8, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Hello from Baltimore Ontario! So excited I discovered your channel today! I now know what to do with last seasons left over hay. Thanks for the great content.

  18. WestBank ProudUS on May 8, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    Great informative video. I am going to try this method starting this year starting with my first hay spread in the area I am going to use. Going to use several of your methods and veggies. All in my suburban "mini-homestead".

  19. rafael nadal on May 8, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. Subscribed

  20. Debbie Gibson on May 8, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    I am so glad you explained the difference between straw and hay. Thank you

  21. S Eichorn on May 8, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    over time the hay will break down and become the soil so any weed seeds there will be exposed to that soil. is that correct? I love the no-dig potatoes and am going to try this method even though Im super allergic to hay & straw. Im more "allergic" to weeding and hoeing lol!

  22. Jonathan Van Allen on May 8, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    You guys are doing some great work. It’s also nice to see videos from my area (5b Eastern Ontario). Keep up the good work.

  23. Laura Grguric on May 8, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Do you need to rotate Ruth Stout gardens?

  24. Charlene Nagel on May 8, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    In Southern Ontario: In regard to your strawberries, I would also suspect they were either not viable or too weak. Last fall I decided to attempt to smother the strawberries that were growing around my blueberry bushes by burying them under 8 inches of wood chip. The berries were old and riddled with bind weed and smothering seemed like the best option for starting over. I did not lay down cardboard because the mulch was very thick. This spring much to my surprise, both the strawberries and the bindweed had no trouble finding their way through all that wood chip. And if old strawberries can do that, then hay should not have been a problem. This year is my first time using hay on some of my no dig raised beds. I am amazed that the beds have needed so little water in spite of several early heat waves of 30 degrees C. There have been some slugs and I also have lots of toads! I am using it for tomatoes, peppers and melons, so we’ll see how it goes. Love your videos!

  25. Mike Hanscom on May 8, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    Found that hay here in Texas is full of herbicides. Here wheat straw is preferred because it contains no herbicides.

  26. Bobbie Jean Esser on May 8, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    Love, love, love your videos!! I love how you explain everything, show your successes and "mistakes" aka experiences. And I especially like your graphics, demonstrating what happens under ground and over time. More videos please!

  27. Richard Cordero on May 8, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty and simplicity…I really enjoyed your video!

  28. MichiganDave on May 8, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    I vote for more Q & A videos. They are informative, well done, and I like them. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Ohio Tracker on May 8, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Absolutely some of the best, most researched videos on YT! Production quality is wonderful, such a pleasure to watch! I use card board between the rows & use different mediums for different crops. I use leaves, hay, woodchips & cardboard. Commercial mulch is a no-no as 90% of it has been treated.
    I do compost the leaves & woodchips for awhile as well. It has been such a pleasure learning about the Ruth Stout method!

  30. Vickie Krouse on May 8, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Hay is better the plants need to enrich the soil agree that anything is better

  31. Charles Bale on May 8, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Helpful and informative.

  32. Barbara Carbone on May 8, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Great, informative vid. Question:. Once the plant, no matter what veg, begins shooting through the mulch, should we pull away some of the mulch around? With every veg? Thanks. I love listening to you. Hope you are well in Canada.

  33. D K on May 8, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Love your videos. Your a great teacher and speaker. Than you!

  34. Zen StandFastForTruth on May 8, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    Great presentation! …… Thank You!

  35. sikamikan on May 8, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    great video, thanks for sharing

  36. cc ccclark on May 8, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Hmmmm. CC isn’t working.
    Wanted to read, not listen because hubby still sleeping.
    Oh well, ❤️🇨🇱🇺🇸✝️🙏

  37. Nate on May 8, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    I have a small backyard to grow in. I haven’t started any gardening yet. Haven’t been in the house a month. I was wondering if that would be enough for Ruth stout gardening. Also if I should put planks boxes down to contain the mulch better. And also if it would be beneficial or bad to put any organic stuff I would compost onto this mulch. I hop to start my mulch pile this fall and start growing in the spring! Thank you for your great videos!

  38. Kentopolis Homestead on May 8, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I love your animations. Very cute.

  39. Dale Kirkendall on May 8, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Hay on my garden, got moldy and smelled terrible, I had to take it off and get it out of my yard

  40. Kristine Schilling on May 8, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Straw seeds. my daughters like to sift through the straw bales to find the big seed shafts. They collect them and plant them as cat grass for our cats. lol

  41. petrichor on May 8, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Some problems I’ve encountered with R.S. method is that it makes a wonderful winter home for small rodents; upon planting in spring I find an infestation of rodents and their trails beneath the hay…and it’s not just in certain years. I do get the cloud of spores in the dry hay, and weird black mushrooms grow in the wet hay. It is an easier way to garden but I am concerned about the black mold spores getting on my growing vegetables; will they still be healthy to eat or will I be consuming black mold spores?

  42. Lynda Willms on May 8, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Love the info you present and how you show us diagrams and explain things. Have you had anyone give info on what to do to prep garden for winter after having squash bugs invade winter squash with cardboard covering ground?We have straw covering beds next to the sqush. My plan was to cover the squash bed with straw once I clean up the dead vines. Concerned I will give the bugs a nice place to overwinter.

  43. Cordelia Dinglehopper on May 8, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Very helpful…..Thanks

  44. Nerd Journeys on May 8, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    excellent video!!!

  45. D L on May 8, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Straw works great in cob or Adobe homes.

  46. Murat Gokirmak on May 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Dry Corn leaves body parts Good For mulching..

  47. edwin masacayan on May 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    how do i know when the hay or mulch is ready to use for planting?

  48. Dani Hall on May 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    We cannot use any of the hay or straw from our area because they are all sprayed with persistent herbicides. Lesson we learned the hard way. We use composted wood chips from tree companies and our system is mature enough now that we can rely pretty much solely on chop and drop. The fine Myakka sand that we started with is now rich soil! Thank you for sharing!

  49. The Oregon Garden Dude on May 8, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Hi this is totally off-topic, I have been watching your videos for the last few years and have come to know your voice, I was watching this video on CNBC and thought for sure it was your voice, Am I crazy. https://youtu.be/MWgFeCSvsmI

  50. Jason Cowan on May 8, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    you should mention that if the hay does have seeds you can simple smother them out with more hay on top and that reapplying the mulch annually or even during the season may be helpful or necessary. otherwise good information.

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