Episode 259. My path to No-Dig

This is The ChangeUnderground for the 7th of June 2021.

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

This is My Story And Maybe Yours Too.

Way back in 2004, I caught a chest infection that just wouldn’t lift. After about four months, I ended up one night in Accident and Emergency at our local hospital. Chest X-rays revealed pneumonia. That night, the 25th of August, I “left the building”, twice. The next morning was the turning point, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. Home ten days later but physically wrecked.

Heading into Spring and the gardening season, a month later, I couldn’t lift a shovel. It was a conundrum. I had some bedding litter in the goat house that needed removing. Rather than composting it, I managed to talk the kids into spreading it out on cardboard sheets in the shape of garden beds. About 2.4 x 1.2 metres (that’s 8 x 4 feet). I was up to planting seeds and so I did. And that’s how I started no-dig gardening (and haven’t stopped since!).

Looking back a year later, I realised I’d discovered a secret. A way to improve the soil by feeding it from above and letting the soil get on with it. From this was born The ChangeUnderground System.

The benefits were (and still are):

  • My need to water was down by 80% as the straw, poop and hay mix held water like a sponge.
  • The veggies I harvested were like rocket fuel for my damaged body.
  • The beds held their shape and depths over the Summer and through the next Winter.
  • The lifeless sandstone soil turned back, filling with earthworms in the first season. (I still have no idea where they came from!)
  • I don’t know if it was the brush with death or the no-dig beds but those veggies tasted better than anything I’d ever grown.

Since then I’ve used straight compost, pea straw, barley straw, lucerne (alfalfa) hay and chicken and/or duck droppings in combination and alone.

What’s the takeaway?

  • Using Nature’s Ways is always best.
  • Get out of the way and let the soil fix itself.
  • Then it will grow anything you plant!!!

I’ve grown these gardens in three countries: the USA, Ireland and Australia. The ChangeUnderground System works anywhere!

A Recent Call from the Wild

From those early gardens I’ve happily grown food everywhere I’ve lived. But there’s been a growing unease, a need to be more in the world.

Ever feel like there’s a pull to be part of something bigger than yourself? We face a series of crises across the world. From the ongoing COVID issues to wildfires and floods, things aren’t what they could be.

Climate Change, Global Warming, whatever you call it, we need to take action. We probably needed to take action thirty years ago but now is the second best time. The trouble I have is the pointlessness and hopelessness of the things we’ve been told will make a difference. Swapping free single use plastic bags for, maybe, multi use plastic bags we have to pay for. Separating our garbage into recycling, compostable and waste to learn these streams are all remixed at the waste facility because the “market” for recyclables has collapsed. If only there was something we could do that made our lives better, felt good to do and actually made a real difference, no matter how small.

As it turns out there is one thing we can all do that affects each and every one of us. We all eat. Food is critical to survival, to health, to comfort. The way most of our food is produced sits upon the use of oil. Fertilisers, transport, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides are all part of our food system. Once we add in the practices of industrial food production and things are not good for us and not good for the biosphere.

The one thing we can do is to grow at least some of our own food. But the digging, the brown thumbs, the space, the weeding, the work! Yet a No-Dig system that removes the work, turns brown thumbs green, virtually ends weeding and requires minimal time, once it’s set up does exist. (ps. it sucks carbon out of the air and turns it into soil, while you sleep and while you’re awake too!)

Developed over thirty years of experimentation The ChangeUnderground System is as close to a turn key system for gardening available today. No longer do you need to come from an ancient lineage of gardeners who pass their “secret” knowledge on, parent to child, the techniques are simple, the steps are logical and the results are amazing.

I’ve distilled the ChangeUnderground System to its bare bones so anyone can start today and be growing food. Food fit for human consumption, food that actually tastes like it used to, back in the day, food that reminds you of Nana’s cooking.

If you go to the website: https://worldorganicnews.com/freeebook/ you can obtain a free copy of the eBook outlining my no-dig system: The ChangeUnderground System.

If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, I opened a Facebook group. I’ve called it, imaginatively, ChangeUnderground Podcast Group. You search on the FB or there’s a link in the show notes and in the transcript over at WorldOrganicNews.com/episode259. 


Decarbonise the air and Recarbonise the soil.


Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.




The ChangeUnderground Academy No-Dig Gardening Course:



email: jon@worldorganicnews.com

Bubugo Conservation Trust



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