Cover art for podcast ChangeUnderground


280 EpisodesProduced by mrjonmooreWebsite

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil.To feed the world, to clean the air and water, we need to change what we do with our soils.This podcast looks at the many variants of regenerative food growing. How? Why? When?We must be the ChangeUnderground!


59 #worldorganicnews 2017 04 10


Humus and Clay...

John Seymour

Masanobu Fukuoka

Daikon radish

Start your own Organic Garden: 7 tips!

Sustainability Through Compost Tea.

Ten Acres Enough


This is the World Organic News for the week ending 10th of April 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week we focus on the soil!

From the blog of LaToya M. Crick Soil Food Web Consultant comes a post on humus and clay.


Clay and humus play an important role in soil structure and plant growth, however, too much of one of them is frustrating and too little of the other is a pending death sentence.

What is clay?

Clay in soil is a fine-grained natural rock or soil material and appears in deposits due to weatherization. ( If you are living in Brazoria County, Texas then you are living on a deposit- ha!) Clay can appear in soil in various colors from white to dull grey or brown to deep orange-red. A clay particle is finer than silt and sand and according to geologist and soil scientist,  a clay particle is less than 2 micrometer.

And from further in the post:

Now, what about Humus?

Humus is the end product of decomposed organic matter that was had by soil microbes. It can be seen as the chocolate/black gold of the earth and acts as an anchor for soil nutrients. It appears in color ranging from dark brown to black and smells earthy and is fluffy to the touch. Humus is negatively charged and has a high cation-exchange-capacity (CEC) that helps the soil retain water and positively charged elements that are beneficial to plant health.

End Quote

The funny thing about clay and all soils for that matter is a thing I learned from John Seymour. It your clay content is too high, add organic matter to your soil. Organic matter, it turns out feeds and creates humus. At the other end of the soil scale: sandy soil the solution is to add (pauses for effect) organic matter which it turns out feeds and creates humus.

You can see where this is heading. Clay soils have their own particular needs when it comes to incorporating organic matter. The drill in the olden days, the 1970s, was to dig deeply and bury organic matter. Can you guess what the solution is today? Yep, raised bed no-dig gardens. It turns out the soil is capable of pulling the organic matter down into the clay soils and invigorating them.  Clay pans can be a problem. That is hardened clay layers under the level at which the shovel or the plough reached. On acreage sized land units, a ripper can be employed to shatter the pan. This lets water and organic matter into the soil profile. This is especially beneficial when the rips are along the contour lines of the paddock. Masanobu Fukuoka used an alternative method the release these clay pans. He broadcast daikon radish seeds. His compacted clay problem was in an orchard so that ripping was not an option. These radishes grow upto a metre in length and as thick as a man’s forearm. By their very growth habits they loosen compacted soils.

Once loosen and with organic matter spread on top, either in no-dog garden beds or spread across paddocks by slashing them or grazing them, the process of humus creation can occur. Clearly this is not a “quick fix” solution but it is one which works with Nature and her rhythms. When that occurs we are moving in the right direction. I might also add here that artificial fertilisers will destroy humic acid in very little time. This means more are needed in the next growing season and so on. The slower Natural way is less expensive too as a rule.

Having sorted your soils the next step is to garden. DR. EDDY BETTERMANN MD delivered a post: Start your own Organic Garden: 7 tips! These are useful and so I’ll repeat them here to pique your interest. Have a read of the article if you need more on this. Link is, of course, in the show notes.

  1. Plan your garden before planting your crops, it’ll help you reap the best harvest possible.
  2. Less is More It may seem like a good idea to plant every edible plant that you love to eat… but it may be better to start with a small, manageable garden in the beginning.
  3. Choose Productive Plants Choose plants that grow well in your climate and geography. Think locally.
  4. Share and Barter If you buy a large packet of seeds and have extras, share with your friends and neighbors.
  5. Go Organic With Your supplies Organic seeds can be bought locally or by mail order. Do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or any other synthetic chemicals.
  6. Complement Your Plants Research traditional methods of natural gardening to grow plants that complement one another such as permaculture.
  7. Have Fun! Gardening can be an incredibly grounding family affair.

Having your garden up and running, the question of feeding or fertilising comes to mind.

The blog Permie Flix has a video post this week entitled: ECOSOIL SUSTAINABLE FARMING WITH COMPOST TEA. If that title doesn’t tick all the boxes then I don’t know what will. The video runs for some 30 plus minutes and is well worth your time.

Compost teas are a specialised form of liquid fertiliser. The have their adherents and I too am one of them. A particularly interesting book: Ten Acres Enough set in the USA state of New Jersey and written in the 1870s gives a good account of how to make and use liquid fertilisers. I’ve included a link to a pdf copy of this book. Whilst it has financial figures from its time which are basically meaningless now, the how to information is useful. A word of caution, the author advocates for ploughing bare fields between produce crops to increase soil moisture. Apart from that, he makes good sense.

Back to the post ECOSOIL SUSTAINABLE FARMING WITH COMPOST TEA. This video is produced with a smallholder, farmer in mind but the principles and techniques can be down scaled to the garden or you could join with fellow gardeners to create larger volumes to use amongst yourselves. I suspect a community garden would also be a good place to centrally produce these teas in bulk. They feed the humus creation process at a good rate of knots. Nudging Nature without pushing her to breaking point.

So look after your soil, grow food in it and feed that soil with liquid fertilisers for a blooming good garden!

And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This may or may not help others to find us but it gives this podcaster an enormous thrill! Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at

Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.



Humus and Clay...

John Seymour

Masanobu Fukuoka

Daikon radish

Start your own Organic Garden: 7 tips!

Sustainability Through Compost Tea.

Ten Acres Enough

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Are you the creator of this podcast?

Verify your account

and pick the featured episodes for your show.

Listen to ChangeUnderground


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens