My Dad always had a garden when I was growing up, as did his parents. I will be 60 this year and I have always had a garden. Not only do I have a garden for the exercise but I know what I am eating. I'm allergic to corn and it is in most things (over 10,000 names it goes by). I'm also allergic to what my friends say "almost everything". So, I have to be careful and plan my garden around what I can eat.
When my boys were growing up, we taught them to love to garden. We do not practice the Ruth Stout method as you do. We have tried it and it did not work out for us. Mainly because most of our garden is low ground and water tends to stand in it. We have raised beds and fill in between the beds with mulch. Usually, we will then till this in the ground in the Fall and make new beds. That way the compost will go to work in the ground for the next season. Our garden is low in most areas and so we need raised beds. Our soil is CLAY. We keep adding compost and other things to help build up the ground. If we make raised beds in the Fall, we are able to plant much earlier in the spring. Sometimes, it is too wet in the Fall to til the compost in the soil. So, the compost is still there in the Spring. We will then lightly til the compost in the top of the beds, leaving the compost in between beds. We then, plant and cover with compost again. We normally have a wet spring so it helps to have the garden ready ahead of time.
I have a green house that I use to start vegetable plants every year. It makes planting much earlier. I keep thinking I will plant my tomato seeds in the Fall after I make my raised beds for the next year. But, keep forgetting. Ha! You can tell I'm getting old or stuck in my ways. This way is called "Winter Sowing". A lot has been going on at our house this past year, so I forgot that was my plan for this year. I'm always open for new or easier ways to garden. Those who have never used mulch or compost around their plants do not realize how much easier it is to take care of a garden. There is no hoeing or tilling once the garden is planted.
I plant my vegetables in a different place in the garden each year. Also, I do what is called "companion planting". Believe it or not, certain vegetables will grow and do better planted next to other vegetables. I have a notebook that has graph paper on one side and lined paper on the other side. Each square on the graph paper equals 1 foot of my garden. My garden is so big, I have to use several sheets of paper to plan my garden. I draw in my raised beds and plan where everything will be planted, making sure I move these plants to a different spot each year and that companion plants are planted next to them. On the back of the chart, I list the plants and how they do. I have found that certain plants seam to always do better in the same place in the garden the years they are planted there. If I wasn't afraid I would have problems, I would just keep planting those vegetables in the same places each year.
I have always had a big crop of green beans until 2 years ago. The plants will put on tons of baby beans and then just before they are ready to pick, they disappear. Evidently, something is eating them. The same thing happened to my okra last year. I cannot imagine what would eat those plants! Anyway, I put up a fence and that didn't work. I re-planted the beans and planted squash on either side and end of the bean rows. Well, the beans came up first and disappeared before the squash was big enough to protect the beans. So, had tons of squash and no beans. I understand the leaves on the squash plants are so hairy that it deters animals from chewing on or getting to the beans. So, this year, I will plant squash first and then wait a couple of weeks and plant my green beans. I am thinking about growing squash plants to plant, to give them a bigger head start. I had yellow squash running out of my ears last year! I have enough squash put up for several years. So, really do not need anymore planted this year. Another thing, I usually plant bush beans. I'm thinking about planting some running beans on a trellis this year. But, I'm afraid the deer will get to the beans then. We love and miss our green beans! I was able to grow tons of purple hull peas and other types of beans so find the disappearance of the green beans strange.
Another thing about companion plants, they will also keep you from spraying for bugs. They are a built-in bug deterrant for the crops you want to grow.
Another garden tip: Once beans seam to quit producing, you can mow the plants down to about 2 inches and they will produce another crop. Once cabbage heads are pulled, they will put on small heads beside the plants. Etc. Lots of plants work this way.