On this shot you don't see the earth effect, look at the larger shot below for that detail. Simple, just steel a few pennies from the kids money box, paint one side and then coat in water down PVA. Then once it has dried just add a little more watered PVA on a few patches and add the desired earth effect or whatever. Once dried add more glue on the unearthed parts and flock. Once it is all dried again (lots of waiting ain't there) add your brush or whatever. I am also doing a few with bits of rock and yet others with a water effect so I can create broken ground and marsh/swamp.
For a better effect use other material than a cut up bit of cloth. This will do me until I see something that I will just know is just right. I have lots of access to cloth off cuts (did I mention Cath did crafting?) So it ticks the cheap box but how about the space problem. Well it all rolls up and stores out of the way. A case of win win if you ask me.