I've been gardening the Ruth Stout method for about 30 years, and would not have had it any other way all of those years. My well supply is poor. Even in a wet year, if I were to water my garden the way a lot of folks do, my water supply would have turned cloudy with silt at the bottom of every glass of water. Mulching has saved me LOTS of watering, lots of weeding, has vastly improved my soil, allowed me to start working my soil 6 weeks before my neighbors who keep bare soil and use a tiller. The only down side to using the hay mulch all of thes years is that the hay melts into the soil so fast that by the end of the summer, the 6" layer always disappears! I was replenishing it every season, and when time and funds allowed, twice a season. I'm looking forward to converting to BTE so that the mulch I put in place will last through one season and into the next season! Mulch helps dry soil to retain moisture. It helps soil with too much moisture to dry out a bit (since that mulch holds the moisture like a sponge, allowing the soil underneath to remain a bit dryer. As the soil dries out, the mulch releases more water) It keeps heavy wet clay soil from turning into cement because you won't be working it with a tiller and creating a hard pan. It improves the texture of both sandy and clay soil by adding lots of humus. My Troybilt sits in the garage. It takes a fraction of the time to use a stainless steel garden for, to open up a planting row, drop the seeds in and pull the mulch back. No need to till up a whole garden bed. No need to disturb the soil structure, or the microbes or worms!
If any readers are intrigued by the BTE concept, but not willing to commit, I challenge you to do a trial garden. It could be as small as a 4 x 4' or 4 x 8' section. Plant the BTE bed with the same plants that you put in a similar sized conventionally tilled bed. Do a side by side comparison. Which plot produced better? Which plot required more work? Which plot required more water?