First published in 1961 when the author was in her late 70s, this book expounds on her philosophy that by constant heavy mulching, gardening can be mastered without weeds, without tilling, without “work.”
Anyone who has ever walked in a forest or wooded area can tell that nature’s system of dropping organic material and letting it lie creates the most healthy and vibrant soils. Yet this idea of natural mulching and letting stuff rot where it falls was all but foreign in the 50s, when she perfected her methods. Ideas that are common knowledge today; that mulching adds nutrients, suppresses weeds and conserves water; were scoffed at.
First off, she’s delightful. Sometimes crotchety, sometimes cranky, yet always passionate, she mocks herself for being known as the mulch lady while still quietly delighting at the notoriety. Her advice revolves around “it works for me, and if it doesn’t work for you, that’s your fault,” and advises people to quit complaining and figure things out for themselves.
She was one of the first highly vocal proponents of organic gardening, and well before it became an epidemic was predicting a nation of overfed and undernourished people. I would have loved to have met her, and I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for her other (out of print) works.