"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Baby Ruth

Last weekend we're out in the garden. 

"What's that?"  SM asks, pointing at the big green cluster bomb beside the lettuce.

"Well, it's broccoli rapini."  I inform him.

"What are you supposed to do with it?  Eat the leaves?"  SM inquires.

"I don't think so.  I think it's supposed to produce something that looks kinda like broccoli but not just in a head.  Kinda like little separate stems."  I dig through the leaves. 

"Nothing yet though."

I've had no luck growing broccoli.  So I thought I'd give the rapini a shot.  These were seeds purchased from Baker Creek that I direct sowed back on March 2nd (!!! REALLY ???) and then let the hoop house do it's thing. 

Anybody grow this stuff?  I googled it and came across this site that explains a bit about growing and harvesting rapini.

Last night SM and I went out again and I dug through the plant to see if anything was happening.

TaDa!  Looks like I've got some rapini starting.  Not much, I'll grant you.   This is the size of my pinkie finger.  Two little stubs.  But it's a start.

I also noticed that the some of the onions are starting to bulb.

How exciting!  This is my first year with onions.

"Are those potatoes?"  SM asks.  I guess he didn't know I'd tossed some in the garden.

"Yep."  I bent over and scattered some more straw on the plants to cover them up.  "Remember that video we watched with that old lady's advice on gardening?"

"Just toss it on the ground and cover it up?"  SM replies. 

Most of you have probably heard of Ruth Stout.  If you haven't, you should check her out.  There used to be a video out there with her talking about her life and how she discovered what she terms as "The No Work Garden."  I tried to find the video we watched a few months ago but there's a copyright claim on it, so the best I can do is offer up a link to a Mother Earth News article on Ruth's process.

Ruth lived to be 96.  Her observations from a lifetime of gardening agree with what many of us are just now discovering.  No-till method with heavy rotting mulch on top (she used straw).  Trying to leave the soil as undisturbed as possible is the best way to go.

This method is what SM and I will be trying to move towards as we build up our own garden over the next few years.  And as back-breaking as it is right now to double dig the ground and shovel compost onto it, we'll be looking forward to the days when the soil is so rich that all we need to do is toss a seed on the ground a kick a little soil on top of it. 

Just like Ruth did.


  1. "Toss a seed on the ground and kick a little soil on top of it" - I agree - the less bother the better :)

  2. Absolutely fascinating! I had never heard of her before, but I will see if I can order one of her books. Thanks, tami!

  3. Hi
    This is our first year for growing rapini and it is coming along slowly. I started it indoors and we will use it in pasta.


  4. I actually saw video that you're refering to - about 3 yrs ago, it was taped when she was 92 yrs old. It was a 3 part video where she talked about her garden and how her husband joked that he always knew when she was done because trafic would speed up again - she liked to garden without her clothes to get the most of the sun :)

  5. Never heard of the lady either but she sounds like a character! Good luck with your garden...all that I have here now is...um...a patch of dirt? Your green things make me happy!

  6. Wanna know what I remember most about Ruth Stout? If my brain retains the correct info, her sister lived with Ruth and her husband and did all the cooking. Don't laugh now, but that is what I fantasize about most in the summer time when I'm reaping the luscious benefits of our garden's homegrown, super-nutritious, fresh food . . . a good cook in the kitchen to work with that wonderful produce and prepare fantastic meals for us when I'm outside about 12 hours a day so busy with all the out-of-doors tasks summer time brings!