Posted on March 26, 2013 @ 07:58:00 AM by Paul Meagher
Ruth Stout was an American author best known for her "No-Work" gardening books and techniques. She discovered that she was able to
grow a surplus of vegetables without plowing, weeding, or watering by using hay mulch as a growing medium. I can confirm that
potatoes grow extremely well in a properly weathered hay mulch (bales of hay left to weather over the winter and then planted into
in the spring - see below). I never weeded my potatoes all year, never watered them, and when I harvested them I barely had to clean them because they had no dirt caked onto them. I'm now a believer in Ruth Stout's no-work methods and will be experimenting on a larger scale with growing vegetables in hay mulch and using hay mulch for perennials to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Growing vegetables in hay is also "organic" and "sustainable" in the best senses of these words (no synthetic fertilizer, no herbicides, no pesticides, no irrigation, no soil cultivation or erosion, soil building, reduced tractor use) . We'll see if the reality lives up to the ideal this summer.
I also planted grape vines last year and hopefully in two more years I will literally start to see the fruits of that labor. Last night
I was reading over my Wine Maker Magazine and came across an excellent no-work concept called "Whole Cluster Fermentation". Basically you don't bother de-stemming or crushing your grapes, just start the fermentation process using the whole grape cluster. Wow, that would be great if I could achieve the same desired outcome, namely, drinkable wine, without all the work and expense associated with traditional wine making. You can bet that I will be experimenting with this technique when my vines start producing.
My philosophy of making wine is not to worry that much about producing the perfect wine at first, but just to produce a drinkable wine
with the least amount of work and cost. If I can't, then maybe I will have to work more and pay more to produce the desired outcome; but that will only happen after I have explored the viability of the least work, least cost option.
We need to ask ourselves more often if we really need to do all the work that conventional wisdom suggests we need to do in order
to achieve a desired outcome. Analyze the work you are doing and ask yourself "is there a way to achieve this outcome without doing
all this work?". Then, take it a bit further and ask yourself "is there a way to achieve this outcome without these expenses?". These are the types of questions that lead to innovation, cost savings, and a more productive use of your time.