Helen and Scott Nearing: Putting the Garden to Bed for Winter, Raw Food Diets and Building a Homestead

Helen and Scott Nearing provide homesteading advice on putting the garden to bed for winter, soil enrichment literature, prose in praise of living off the land, raw food diets and recipes and building a homestead yourself.

| November/December 1982

Helen and Scott Nearing share their homesteading advice with MOTHER's readers, including putting the garden to bed for winter, raw food diets and recipes and building a homestead yourself. 

Helen and Scott Nearing are light-years ahead of most of us when it comes to living a life of voluntary simplicity in harmony with nature. Back in 1932 they began homesteading a run-down farm in Vermont's Green Mountains, and later—when the slopes around them exploded into ski resorts in the early 50's—Helen and Scott moved to a rocky inlet on the Maine coast . . . and started all over again. 

That's where you'll find the Nearings today: They're still clearing brush, still building the stone structures they're famous for, and still raising most of their vegetarian diet themselves in productive wholistic gardens . . . just as they've been doing for 50 years.  

Naturally, the Nearings have learned a good deal about homesteading over the years . . . and they've agreed to share that knowledge with MOTHER's readers in a regular question-and-answer column. Send your queries about self-reliant living on the land to Helen and Scott Nearing, THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS ® , 105 Stoney Mountain Road, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28791. Please don't expect personal replies, though. The most frequently asked questions will be answered here—and here only—so that we can all benefit from what the Nearings have to offer. 

With cold weather upon us, my husband and I were wondering what the best way when "putting the garden to bed for winter" might be. Could you please outline the methods you use each autumn to prepare your growing plot for the following spring?

After the last harvest is in, we weed our entire garden and cultivate it thoroughly. Once we're certain that frost has killed or driven away any nesting slugs, we mulch the plot . . . using hay, autumn leaves, or seaweed. (Mulching too early will give the slugs a warm home in which to survive the season.) At this time we also put a blanket of loose mulch over the hardy plants (such as kale, brussels sprouts, leeks, or parsley) to help them winter over. 

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