Episode 187. Ploughing, Chemicals and Monoculture

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 23rd of September 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

A couple of Sundays ago I heard a podcast from the ABC here in Australia entitled: Land use, climate change and the role of soil.


Rear Vision looks at how we come to farm the way we do and how that fits into the climate change story.

This is not a program about organic farming but it is a program about soil.

End Quote 

I think it’s time we moved beyond organic anyway. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, most organic certification systems rely upon systems that do everything chemical farming does but without the chemicals. The same or more use of diesel and days of hand weeding. There is a better way. Many of them.

The show looks at three areas needing attention in Australian and world, now, probably 20 years go but definitely now. 

  • Cultivation
    • We know but so many don’t
    • Destroying mycillia
    • Destroying bacteria
    • Mud bricks
    • And, of course, loss of soil carbon
      • Which means more CO2 in the atmosphere
  • Chemical additives
    • Poisons the soil microbiome
      • As they die they provide food for plants
      • Once dead, more chemicals needed
    • The faustian pact: more production for 1% of topsoil loss
      • So we have between 40 and 100 harvests left, 60 is the most common figure quoted
    • Embedded carbon in the production system
      • From production to transport
      • Korean Natural Farming/Zero Budget Natural Farming
        • Using what’s available where you are
    • The debt spiral.


  • Monoculture
    • This is somewhat obvious with a little thought.
      • Biomimicry
        • The Steppe
        • The Prairies
        • The Rangelands of South Africa, Australia, South America
      • “Efficiency”
        • Henry Ford approach
        • Boredom
      • Counter intuitive systems stability 
        • Mechanical = minimum number of moving parts
        • Biological = more layers/interconnections
        • Set the systems in motion, monitor!


  • What I’m putting in place
    • No-dig
    • No chemicals
      • Making compost
      • Growing a worm farm
    • Monoculture
      • This is where things get interesting
        • Ten beds
        • 27 seed varieties flowers/vegetables
        • Set a non regular grid pattern based upon 10x10cm squares
        • Companion planting
      • One bed per week over ten weeks
        • Succession planting
        • Seeing what works
        • Seeing what doesn’t
        • Recording results
    • This is my current response to the no monoculture principle.
      • If anyone has other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

The Online Conference Living Soil ~ Backyard Regen hosted by World Organic News and Permaculture Plus finished up last Wednesday, 16 September. It seems a great time was had by all. The knowledge our presenters delivered was powerful. I’m thinking of making the individual night’s sessions available, if you’re interested in that let me know at media@worldorganicnews.com

That’s about it for this week.

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





The RegenEarth 

email: redocean112@gmail.com


Transcript HERE

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WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here


Rear Vision: Land use, climate change and the role of soil


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