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

FAQ – Deep Mulch Vegetable Gardening (Ruth Stout Method)

About The Author


  • Charlene Nagel

    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!

  • petrichor

    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?

  • Dane Caldwell

    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.

  • S Eichorn

    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!

  • Lisa Brooks

    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.

  • Kristine Schilling

    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

  • Tia Phillips

    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.)

  • Jason Cowan

    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.

  • Angelika Rawks

    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.