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Ruth Stout’s Garden

I like this lady!

Part II

Find out more about Ruth and her mulched gardens here.


  1. Is there usually a situation where the high-carbon mulch quickly uses up the available nitrogen in the soil, and how to deal with this organically?

  2. Edward – my understanding is that if the mulch is somewhat rotted already the nitrogen drawdown effect is less of an issue. Otherwise you could place a layer of compost (or rotted manure) before placing new mulch. I use chicken manure pellets under fresh straw. Of course you could run the fresh mulch through the chicken pen before use in the garden – which is a good idea to allow the chickens to eat any weed seeds in the new mulch. Chhers.

  3. Hey Edward,

    The chooks process all of the fine wood mulch here before I send it out into the orchard and I’ve never noticed nitrogen problems in established areas. 11 chooks process about 4 to 6 wheelbarrow loads of mulch + straw per week. However, this is onto already established areas as a top dressing.

    In a new area, it’d be a good idea to drop a sprinkle of compost on top of the mulch after a couple of weeks as a minor top up. In a new area I also tend to let the weeds grow too.



  4. Thanks. I eat chikie, and now i’m in an apartmant. I noticed that compost, either repotting, or adding on top of the soil does a lot, but as far as particular mineral needs, who knows. I found that the orange and macadamia seemed to go chlorotic fastest, trying both chem and org powders and liquids; and, who knows what the lifecycle of the soil-life is in relationship to feedings, etc. I know that our city tap s like poolwater, does what they formulate the water to do, and lots of plants there ae chlorotic. The island is a beach(no pun, and compacted fill-dirt for the buildings. They say that most of the life in a rainforest is above the soil, so maybe that’s the key.

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