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Sustainable World Radio Interview with Doug Weatherbee: Life Within the Soil, Part I

I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Weatherbee at Geoff Lawton’s PDC course at Quail Springs in California in August 2008. With his coming from an IT background, it’s great, and interesting, to see his metamorphosis into an expert in all things soil.

Given that the soil beneath our feet is the source of all we eat, breathe, possess, and are, and given that it’s disappearing fast, it is imperative that we begin to protect and even restore it. Understanding a little better how it works is one giant step towards accomplishing this.

The content of Sustainable World Radio‘s interview with Doug brings one face to face with the absurdity of a monocrop, industrialised, product-based agriculture, as he looks at the real secrets of a healthy soil — mega-diversity in soil life — and its potential to bring not only resiliency, but also gift us with a self-perpetuating system.

Click play to hear the talk!

Interview with Doug Weatherbee: Life Within the Soil, Part I

Continue to Part II


  1. Very interesting, makes a lot of sense, thanks for the post.
    There’s something I’m not sure about though.
    Doug discusses some of the differences between aerobic and anaerobic compost. He says by composting anaerobically we basically inoculating our soil with these anaerobic microorganisms, which is not ideal, also bad smells which are potential food sources for microorganisms.
    Does this mean that Bokashi/EM composting, which is anaerobic, is not necessarily good for our gardens. I have read a lot about the wonderful benefits, such as the final compost product being more complete as opposed to oxidized aerobic composting.
    Would appreciate your thoughts,

  2. Fabulous interview. I’m interested in finding out more about the bacteria/fungi ratios he discussed. Where can I find out more about what ratios different plants require? I too would like to know more about what he meant by the anaerobic composting being perhaps detrimental to the soil. Thanks!

  3. Hi Almira,

    I’ll be posting Part 2 of Doug’s interview soon. (On and on ITunes.) In it, he goes a bit more in depth on the bacteria/fungi ratios. A good resource is Elaine Ingham’s SoilFoodWeb site and Doug’s site- All the best, Jill

  4. Greetings Brain,
    Regarding EM (Effective Microbes) by Dr.T. Higa.
    In the EM Compost bucket using the Bokashi in between the layers of organic matter; the anaerobic microbes do the work as the lid is firmly shut. The liquid which is drained off regularly is Humic + Fluvic acid with microbe.
    When the compost is cured (ready. depending on temperature etc) and is placed into the soil; this is when the aerobic microbes start their work.
    The system starts anaerobically like silage preventing various decomposition gases (methane etc.) from going into the atmosphere. This energy is hence captured within the compost, then feeding the soil biology which makes it into colloidal humus. On which the plants feed.
    All in all this EM is a good addition to the various tools we need to use.
    Love that fermented smell!

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