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Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Posted by toffee1 Z9/Sunset Z15 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 28, 10 at 18:35

I have been reading different methods, all sounded fascinating. I would like to have more feedback:

Ruth's
-8"-10" above ground layered composting material (lasagna?) that covers the whole area.
-Layered composting material are used as mulch and
-Mostly do not plant directly in the layered composting material.

Lasagna
-Similar to above by using layered composting material,
but
-in a raised bed and
-plant directly in the layered composting material.

Worm Trench
-Similar to the above two methods by using layered composting material; but
-Inground and with added worms.
-Do not plant in the trench.
-Trench very close to the planting area.

Compost/move/till
-Compost in bins etc.,
-Move the finished compost to planting area,
-Dig and till.

Do I get the above right? Sounded like Ruth's requires less work but what's the downside? The more traditional compost-move-till requires the most work?

thoughts?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Each one is a different way to get the same results, a good healthy soil. Lasagna Gardening can be more labor intensive at the beginning and composting can be more labor intensive at various times while Ruth Stouts full time thick mulches can be just as labor intensive when gathering and spreading the mulch material.
For me fall is the most labor intensive part of the gardening year since I empty the compost bins then and spread that on the gardens that need it, accumulate leaves and shred them to make them ready for composting or mulch. Then in the spring the beds are ready to be planted and little work is necessary other then the planting.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

I like to try Ruth Stout's method. Not sure if they will work in the dry weather Bay Area.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

What I've mostly done this year is similar to the worm trench method but easier. I just dig a hole between the plants, dump in the day's accumulation of kitchen scraps, and cover with soil. No muss, no fuss, no turning - the worms and microscopic soil organisms do all the work. There are lots of worms in my garden because they are fed regularly and multiply.

I also have a compost pile but once layered I've just left it. I'll soon use it as mulch when fall garden clean-up is finished.

Playing with compost can be lots of fun but also a lot of work and for me easy is best but each person has to find what works for them.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Trivia tid-bit: Ruth Stout also gardened in the nude. Not sure how that affected the garden, but being an excentric character may have contributed as much to her book-selling fame, as anything else. Plus a title that promised "no work gardening". She 'discovered' mulching after 40 years of traditional gardening and hay/straw was the mulching medium she found convenient to use. IMO it is just sheet composting by another name.

As to which of those methods is best ... depends on what free OM you have at hand. Bales of hay/straw have a carbon footprint that the trimmings/leaves you gather do not. FREEEE is the operative word for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruth Stout article


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Borderbarb, my local tree companies can deliver their freshly cut trees, shredded and free of charge. Local city also allow residents to pick up compost too, with some limitations. Hay, I have to buy, but a few bales goes a long way.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

"... but being an excentric character ..."

BB, knowing you have an anagogic predilection, are you coining, or is this a form of aptonym?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Phonetic spelling, donchaknow. Does this mean I don't get a gold star on my chart? Can I play the 'age card' ?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

I'm going to do both, trench composting and then pile leaves on top of all of it. I can hunt for worms at the lake or creeks, any worm should do, but the red wiggler is superior from what I've read.

That's a good idea, even when growing you can keep your worm trench going. In a 10 or 12 foot square bed, you can plant a row in the middle of your rows, plant along the sides, it almost sounds too good to be true.

If done through the winter and during growth, it should yield a healthy garden, at least for most. Not sure if mine counts. I might be moving spaces or going container beds for half of mine. I can still do a small area in the container to plant my worms and compost material in.

I guess any form of composting is going to make things better, but worm castings are supposed to be superior even to cow manure and they are expensive. I bought some castings with the intent I might get some worm eggs in them to start mine, didn't know there wouldn't be any worm eggs in them.

Be warned your worms will runaway, so maybe getting the free cheapies until you are sure they won't escape should be worth a try.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Scarlet; worms may run away but I think of it as worms running to. As said build it and they will come. I build, they come, boy do they come! They stay like a well fed relative. I use the trench method outdoors a lot, my worms tend to be soil dwellers not the red wiggler manure worms. I do keep worm bins for compost, but am talking garden worms here. Barb I just finished reading bio on Ben Franklin. Seems like he liked working in the nude too. Go figure.

Curt


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

16 yds3 of shredded tree cutting were delivered to my house today. This weekend is mulching time. Hopefully will top off with compost before rainy season starts. Do i even need to top them off with compost?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

I just planted some irises today and everywhere I dug there were sooo many worms (I'm a bit squeamish). I didn't dig anywhere the compost had been buried but the worms multiply very well when fed and are throughout the garden. They don't "run" anywhere, they stay for the banquet! My worms are Common Earthworms and I'm sure all the rain we've been having has helped them multiply also. I wonder how many pounds/?tons of worm castings they are producing yearly? Pretty inexpensive fertilizer and of high quality.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

luckygal, how deep are the compost holes?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

"Ruth's
-8"-10" above ground layered composting material (lasagna?) that covers the whole area.
-Layered composting material are used as mulch and
-Mostly do not plant directly in the layered composting material.

Lasagna
-Similar to above by using layered composting material,
but
-in a raised bed and
-plant directly in the layered composting material."

I don't think that your descriptions of the methods are wholly accurate. Stout didn't so much as "layer" her materials as dump what she had, when she had it, where it suited her. Her method does not resemble the carefully layered lasagna method that "Stout Wanna Be" Lanza uses. And Stout did plant directly in her deep mulches. I've seen films of her twitching her upper layer of mulch aside slightly, tossing seed, and recovering it.

And lasagna beds aren't really "raised" beds. They're just a deep mulch of various materials laid down to create an instant bed. The deep, newly created, beds eventually decompose and are level with the ground around them.

I think of Stout's method as 'perennial mulching", which is the method of mulching that I now employ.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

toffee1, how deep the holes are depends on the area of my garden I am burying them in. Some areas I'm lucky to get a shovel depth down, other areas that have been cultivated for longer can be dug deeper. It also depends on how much I'm burying but I like to have at least 6" of soil on top even if I have to smash the compost down with the shovel - great therapy! haha

Lately since Mr. Bruin has been around again and actually dug up one of the really old compost burial sites (perhaps to eat the earthworms?) I have been freezing my compost in doubled bread bags. When Bruin goes to sleep I'll put it out in the garden in a pile with sawdust over it.

Here is a link that might be useful: pic of Mr. Bruin


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

annpat, you are right with your comments. May I ask how deep are your perennial mulching?

Luckygal, Cute Mr. Bruin, how big is he?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Not very deep, toffee, in most places. I try to mulch all the gardens, but getting free mulching materials takes some effort, so some beds are more heavily mulched than others. My main concentration are food growing areas. Two falls ago, though, my entire front yard was under about two feet of leaves I brought home from the dump. I turned the bags over and lifted them off---leaving my yard covered with tall bumps of shoulder to shoulder leaves. By spring, after my dog and a painter traversed the area for about a month, I had lovely, crumbly, dark brown, early-stage leaf mold all over. My beautiful native soil was stolen here during construction of an addition, and I'm trying to deep mulch the entire yard to improve it. I've done three huge areas that are yard, not garden areas. I mulch year-round if possible, and I mulch continuously. A mulcher's work is never done.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

annpat, i like to have deeper mulch for better weed control and also last longer. however, I am in zone 9 so I am worry about rodent issues if too deep and also what very deep mulching may do to existing trees and shrubs.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

I don't mulch up against trunks,and I don't have many (any) rodent issues here, except for squirrels.

I should say, however, that I have no immediate neighbors, I live in the woods, and the few neighbors that drive by my unmown, leaf-buried yard, loved me long before they knew I was going to be a disgrace to the neighborhood. Most of the people on my dead-end road have known me my entire life, and I have seniority over the rest. Plus, I got high praise this year (and a plaque to hang in my yard) from the Lake Smart organization, which has gone far to redeem my methods.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

annpat, how many inches between the tree trunks and the mulch?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

I just taper it down so that the mulch is almost non-existent around the trunk. I don't really mulch much around trees, though, and the only reason I mulch around shrubs is to feed them---not to keep weeds down. I generally mulch my shrubby stuff with junk: pulled weeds, etc.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

any idea on how to plant bulbs when one have heavy mulch? Some tulips need to be 6" deep under soil, but if the mulch is 6" deep. Then what to do?


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Ido alittle of both but mainly the ruth stout method. I have seven raised beds made from cement blocks close to 16"-20" high. I just level into them what I have. Leaves in the fall and grass in the spring from the yard service companies that cut my nieghbors lawn. (I mulch my grass) I sprinkle some horse manure and garden soil in between. My food scrapes (including garden litter) goes to the red wigglers. I use the castings along with aged manure and builders sand for my potting mix. any castings left go to the raised beds too. when the worms get too populated, the extra go to a friends chickens along with buckets of japanese bettles. the chickens thank me with the manure i compost and use on the lawn.
it all works and everything is coming up green.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Toffee, sorry I hadn't seen this thread since I posted, didn't mean to ignore your question.

I'm really not sure how tall that bear would be as he didn't stand up. I think he may be at least 5 1/2 feet tall standing. I know the one that was around early this spring left his paw prints above the doors and windows altho it may have been a different, larger bear. To do that I think he would have to be 6' tall.

About the depth of mulch over tulip bulbs. IMO if the mulch is light and fluffy it doesn't really count in depth of planting, but if it's a heavy mulch (like compost) it does count. If it's something like dry leaves that get wet and pack down over winter I'd pull it back in the spring so the plants can get thru. I wouldn't count this in the planting depth.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

for 4-5 years now I've started my beds with afew layers of local news paper because my worms here in these parts are smart and I just know they can read. (kinda like a book worm i guess):) then I put leaves, grass and straw. But I just haven't been able to bring myself to try and plant onions from seed. I guess I would just pull the mulch back til the soil is showing and plant. After they start growing push the mulch back around them.
I tried for years to just put mulch and no mater how thick I put it, weeds grew right up through the mulch so now I put a good layer of local news on the soil first and again at the start of each spring if the previous paper has decomposed. Them onions have me stumped. any one grow onions from seed? and do you pull the mulch back or not?
I broke my heal this year following off the roof so I guess it's sets for next year.


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RE: Ruth Stout vs Lasagna vs Worm Trench vs Compost/move/till

Yes, I pull the mulch back for all seed planting, and tuck it back up to the seedlings as soon as they're a couple of inches high.


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