185. The Hidden Half of Nature | Anne Bikle | Seattle, WA | Part Two

David Montgomery and Anne Bikle

It’s April 29th! I am so excited to introduce my featured guest today Anne Bikle who is going to talk about her book The Hidden Half of Nature.

Anne  are you ready to dig into it?

Anne Biklé is a biologist and environmental planner. Her career spans the fields of environmental stewardship, habitat restoration, and public health. The Hidden Half of Nature is her first book she wrote with her husband David R. Montgomery who is a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington and a 2008 MacArthur Fellow. He is the author of The Rocks Don’t Lie and other award-winning popular science books.

Their website is dig2grow.com

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature


Welcome Green Future Growers!


I interviewed this woman Ashley from PittMoss® on February 25th and we just love it. I’ve been using it in the classroom everyday and I just love it.

So you and your husband wrote 3 books now right?

Dirt Trilogy

We ended up with this triology, in Dirt that’s the plight of our soil on


worst thing you can do for soil

digging around

Dirt The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery


that’s the story in Dirt, the plight of our soil

the hidden after nature which David and I coauthored, he solo authored Dirt.

This amazing new area of science, where we’re finally able to see into the microbial world and I’m using see metaphorically, because of course the microbrial world is invisible but we now have tools and techniques that scientists have tools to look into

symbiotic relationships plants and microbes in the soil we also cover in

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature  the human microbe biome what’s going on in our guts.

Both we and plants are chimeric organisms meaning we are an ammagulation of life forms

We have all our own cells and each plant has all of it’s own selves, but we also each haul around a good number of microbes that help us live and keep us alive. So the 

insights and understanding


May 9th

Growing A Revolution Bringing Our Soil Bake To LIfe

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

that book is solving the problem talked about in dirt

using the science we unveiled in 

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature  

Any gardener would not be surprised that we’ve really hammered the soil, but that it’s possible and investigate and understand 

  • how the soil works
  • apply all of that
  • bring soil back to life

Do that’s the Dirt  triology!

I think I’m talking with David next week.

Where does one find your podcast?

Besides my website… iTunes, there’s Podcast Addict I use on my kindle or android, stitcher, google play… etc.  Im usually a techy but the learning curve for Podcasting has been a bit longer then usual. I feel like youre my new friend already, that’s what I love about podcasting I feel like we’re new friends already just talking.

There’s so many angles to the digital world. I think one of the best is when you connect

Tell us a little about yourself.

David and I live just north of downtown Seattle, and this time of year, I was outside way too late last night try

this must be what farmers talk about at harvest time.

in my case here it’s at the other end of the season spring

differnet kinds of maples that are in pots

some I should

root work

dam it!

too far leafed out to be pulling them out of their post

that things opened up now

that’s opening up now

that is the wonderful world of gardening

something very exciting happened this week

let me tell you about it

anyone who reads the 

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature


wood chips

I am a big proponent of using organic matter to keep the soil micro biome well fed so it can do all the things for the plants

my favorite ingredients

wood chips

you can get free wood chips

lot of demand for free wood chips

get on the phone with arborists

beg and plead

can’t you bring some

pretty slim pickens

called an arborist

don’t sound whiny

can I please have some wood chips

got a call back 3 hours later


I love you

comes over my neighbor and I we’re partners in crime

Len, 70 year old painter

if we can all do what he does when were 70

I will be happy happy

Wood chips Anne Bikle

Wood Chips

Jason pulls in

almost as big as the RV

then he pulls away

we’re thrilled to have the chips

in the past we’ve gotten chips from arborists

you get what you don’t pay for

they are free

pick around it

these wood chips are promo!

got a really nice grind on these chimps

no bamboo and blackberry

Leonard and I are giddy!

@dig2grow twitter feed

you’ll see the big pile of mulch

Leonard only condition is they be moved out of his driveway by may 31st

So we have a month!

That is my very exciting thing this week we scored those wood chips!

They just bring them to you for free?

they need to get rid of them

They don’t want to have to drive to dump them. They get charged money for that.  I think it’s crazy anyway that we have any sort of incentive for a business for an arborist to be throwing away perfectly good organic matter!

that’s just a complete crime!

this is good clean stuff! It’s not like other things you sometimes run into with the gardening and nursery industry! 

Anyone out there listening contact your, local arborist. Most every town has some kind of tree service and call them and ask!

I’m sure lots of listeners are like I can just call and they will bring me compost to add to my soil!

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

I grew up in the Denver Metro area of Colorado,

lived there till I moved away for college

I think I remember, maybe being really little and being 4-5 and helping to plant flowers. That was my first gardening experience in June sometime. That’s just little tiny memory.

What I remember most being a little bit older, maybe about 11-12, and my dad would take me to Ardano’s Flower land. That was a big nursery. Anyone who’s been to Denver knows, Sante Fe Avenue

Sante Fe Blvd they had a big wide shoulder not paved just kind of dirt, wide enough there were businesses you’d pull off the paved part of the road.

I remember walking in and it was flowers as the eye could see! We’d get a big cart, he’d say go get whatever you want! 

Flower Disneyland

Here I am walking around in flower Disneyland so here I am pulling things off the tables and putting them on the cart! 

I grew up in pretty much a suburban environment!

not like an acre

1/4 acre or 1/8 of an acre

There was this small garden right alongside the driveway. That was the garden you waked to and from the house! I always in daily sight I planted up with the things from Ardanos. 

Just common things not knocking anybody’s socks off

Something about early June

  • being outside
  • having the hose nearby
  • hands in the dirt
  • and all of these gorgeous flowers
  • marigolds
  • petunias
  • snapdragons
  • annually around the house

11-12 through high school. Then things got out of hand. 

Inside the house, there is no gardening in the winter time, but I started a plant collection

  • looking at pictures a while back, I had sort of taken over the living room
  • gardening habit
  • plant lust bad enough you’ll figure out how when and where you can.

I was just at my friend Nola’s and she talked about back in the beginning. She had this aloe plant blooming! It’s the most incredible thing I ever saw. 


We just went on the garden club field trip and I was constantly pointing out arrays, incorporating some math, but it was like Disneyland the kids were excited looking all over at the different plants and flowers! 

GardenClubLettuceBedWe have some stuff growing a lettuce garden fro the guineea pig!

How did you learn how to garden organically?

I you know

a true confession

around the house

after planting all the flowers that I had brought home, my father would always insist it’s time to fertilize them, here’s the miracle grow! Here I was dutifully mixing up the miracle grow, the plants needed fertilizer! 

There was no example in my household

pretty typical

You fertilize plants, you poison weeds!

We were not throwing chemicals around! 

There were weed checmicals in the outdoor shed but I didnt because there was no beauty or joy. so my dad would ask my brothers

not a model

around the house

mostly the yard was a sort of area of benign neglect

 unless something got out of hand, it’s intereting because it’s kind of my li

approach here in Seattle, but things grow like crazy so if things get out of hand it’s a little intense! Out of here with all the rain and water!

I interestingly enough

I have to say

mostly self-taught

helped when I went to ca

To UCLA Santa Cruz

that town and campus, you just take in organic in senses and thoughts just by osmosis.

So this is 20 yeas ago that I was in school

That’s interesting I went to Santa Cruz about 20 years ago, for Redwood summer!

There was somehting at the base of campus called the farm and garden project. I lived off campus my first year, and I’d ride my bike. Everytday I’d ride past the farm and garden and I could see it was this little oasis. 

I went over there to walk into the area that was the garden and it would just blow my mind. It was some kind of spritely fairlyand. 

  • spring dragonflies
  • spring quarter
  • all these pollinators
  • like these spritely fairies

these interns and not sweating going to sit inside  a classroom and learn about cells. I thought these people looks so happy!

Im gonna get on my bike and go up the hill

This very magical place! Any gardener knows it

I was not seeing the elbow grease

  • these other worldly time people
  • insects pollinators
  • magical experience

anybody could

huge de-stressor to go over there and take ten or fifteen minutes and se what was grwoing! 

see these things

early 20s you began to see there are 

  • different ways to have a garden
  • different ways of eating
  • interacting with the world

pretty much self taught

Any organic gardener knows you can spend a lot of money on products at the nursery

in your 20s

typically don’t have any money. Living in any rental place. 

Don’t have the money to buy some product so we’re gonna figure out how were gonna live and make them grow! That is how I came upon my organic gardening experience!

With every garden you learn something about myself and those plants as well.

neat thing about, every gardening season, you build upon what you have learned in the past.

I have to say my mom was always an organic gardener. I still thinking didn’t everyone grow up with a compost on the counter, I remember going to college and being like well keep our compost here in this milk carton and my roommates being like hun? I love the story about teh sprites in Santa Cruz. I thought when I joined the podcasting group that my husband would jsut teach people based on his 40 years of gardening but as the weather changes etc we’re always learning. 

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

Flame Barrow Hidden Half of Nature

So my garden here in Seattle is a mix of ornamentals and vegetables, if we lived somewhere else I would dedicate more space to growing food. I feel so blessed and fortunate to live in a place that has really decent farmer’s markets. 

Maybe the last 5 maybe pushing 10 years, maybe not quite. I feel like I can get really decent quality freshly harvested food at the farmer’s markets. When your crazy about plants and the farmers got the food covered where I live. There are so many wonderful plants I like to do that. 

I will say

Here’s what I would say

I have been really interested in trees lately. It’s also coming up on Arbor day. I think it’s tomorrow. May 1st? 

Trees are such an interseting kind of plant because they are so long lived when you start with vegetables and annual flowers, everything happens in one year or less

  • burst of growth
  • joy of seeing that and then
  • demise

Our trees now, they’re about the oldest one is about 10-15 years old, when you grow a tree and you see it every day, it is really fun to watch it change over time. That’s what an annual or perennial generally you don’t get to experience the plant. 

I’l give an example I’ve had to do less and less to take care of our trees. 

any other plant in the garden


dote on this thing especially a vegetable out here in Seattle

I have snails and slugs and cutworms that I’m dealing with but they are not going to do anything to my tree. The tree, it’s way bigger, it’s got loads of defensive compounds loaded up for any pest that comes at it.

The only thing I do with my trees, I had an arborist out to do some shaping on a couple of trees. One tree had these co-dominant leaders.

With minimal pruning keeping mulch around the base of the tree these beings will just 

  • grow and grow
  • change over time
  • structure becomes more beautiful more defined

one tree  even at almost 15 years ago, it’s still kind of a squirt. 

it’s a tupelo It’s like this rangy teenager and maybe it’s gonna be like this for it’s first 30 years of it’s life, maybe 40-45 years and you can’t say that bout a lot of plants


s a book

if your a  tree person or want to


Hidden Life of Trees

German forester wrote this book.

it kind of says it all

life of a tree

what they can bring into our lives and really seeing them as beings that we share this planet with. I learn something from my trees whether I have them in pots or in the ground. I learn something all the time.

I am in love with my trees probably because I am leafing out! 

This big woody plant just start bursting all over with leaf buds!

You just think who knew all this greenery was embedded in the wood?

I love what you said, I was just telling my students I practically got kicked out of college my first year, they said if you take one more picture of a tree you have to take pictures of something else…. I was like but some are maples and some are . Mike and I met planting trees. We got married in 1993, and when you watch trees grow and see them change over the years. We’re on 20 acres of mostly pine trees. Also Russ Metge from Simply Trees has been one of my most downloaded episodes who talks about fruit tree pruning and I am alway amazed at how much fruit we get off of these trees.

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

I’m not planning on anything new, in part because I don’t have any space/ That’s the difference between 20 acres and living in a city.

You quickly stuff your lot full of plants and these plants get bigger and bigger!

I just don’t have much space.

Here’s something kind of interesting in the last couple of years, taking advantage of and doing. The garden’s established enough now and there are certain perennials that are happy with where they are. They’re starting to kick out seeds every year.

Conditions are good right around the mother plant in the soil so I’m getting scads of seedlings of perennials. I want to focus on food for pollinators, when I started gardening, I didn’t think about that a lot  and the plight of pollinators wasn’t as bad 10 years ago.

I want to focus on feeding pollinators

we lost unfortunately, our forest pansy redbud

lost a tree

planted two more trees in it’s place

new oak


trees are fitting well where the older redbud was

But what I gained is the space underneath it. It is a fairly small space


what i’ve done beneath the trees

note to gardeners

best time to plant perennials is the same time you plant the trees!

So I have this perfect situation, new trees new perennials.

I had seedlings of echinacea all over the place. I let my little seedlings grow and for one or two seasons I just pluck them right over to where I want them. I know they do well. plant my echinacea

The pollinators that come mid summer they are on these echinacea all seasson long. I want to focus on pollinators need food!

I have neighbor on one side of me, and one 6 houses away. What are you doing? He said, I’m gonna do a pollinator garden, I said let’s do a pollnator pathway. I’ll work on people between me and you…

that’s something on my mind.

the other thing, ground bees. 

this is the tip

groupnd bees

mostly the standard honey bee

lots of different kinds of bees

check how much you mulch, if you are mulching everywhere it’s the reducing the habitat of the ground bees. So leave patches of bare ground so you can attract ground bees. Every regino has it’s own neighbors. 

really important type of

I’m mad for mulching

find some little corner of the garden

not pronoe to erosion

not at the base of

make a little space for ground bees.

I know in Montana our native bees are mason bees. They were doing a project with the kids at our last Seed Fair where they would fill up a coffee can with all thee different newspapers.

Let’s take a minute to thank our affiliates!

Recommended books on the Organic Gardener Podcast

reccomended books on the organic gardener podcaast

The Organic Gardener Podcast is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com


audible logo

The other great thing is I teamed up with audible and now you can get a free audiobook from them by going to www.organicgardenerpodcast.com/book or just type book into the search bar at www.organicgardenerpodcast.com and you can enter to get listening to your first audio book today!

Let’s Get to the Root of Things!

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?

I was doing something yesterday that was getting me irritated:

We’re food composters so we have 2 small worm bins, that’s where all the food waste goes. Anyone who uses worm compost knows this is manna from heaven! 

The best compost I think, especially for a vegetable bed!

I put tea bags into our counter top container,

out to the worm bin it goes

english tea I think called workshire

I’m giving these people a phone call and an email, they’re not as bad a United (haha)

These tea bags are half broken down, last fall I spread all of my compost everything looked pretty full composted I thought over the winter the rest will break down. 

Yesterday I’m looking at my beds, I’m looking thinking what is this? I realized these are the remnants of tea bags! Everything else in the bed is thoroughly broken down.

what are these tea bags made of, maybe we’re gonna change the tea we’re drinking.

I spent probably an hour and half picking through

I wasn’t digging things up

remnants of tea bags and its in my food bed!

Now everytime I go out to look out at the veg bed I’m gonna be searching for these 1/2 degraded. Somethings wrong if it’s sitting in a worm bin for 6 months

That’s what’s hard, when you knowingly or unknowing  bring something into your garden doesn’t play into nature. Fixing things like that are not my favorite things to do in the garden

worm bin

My very first interview was with Denny Krahe and he was talking about his worm composting bin. He was in Florida so you couldn’t be as far across the US from each other. So, I was like I’m gonna get one for my classroom and it could not have been a bigger flop.

It had a card board cover over it, and it needed more air. The other problem we had, I thought we would have a ton of food in the classroom but we mostly had fruit. Mike read online that your maybe not supposed to put oranges in there, it wasn’t decomposing! It was turning into rotting food. Do you have some tips for me.



worm binI baby my worms

the things

eventually they would break down all food stuff, and we’re gardeners and we want this done in as short as of time as possible

  • citrus peels
  • avacado skins
  • no more breakfast tea bags
  • cranberries –

I think cranberries are too loaded with some kind of photo chemical. About every other kind of food is good.

What they particular love is green leafy matter!

That’s what Mike says!

It’s very easy to them, it’s very accessible to them so they break it down really quickly! 

When Im out an it’s summer time and I have a lousy leaf on a plant! 

the veg bed

you need to go through the worms

Too many banana peels could make a worm bin slimy!

One of the things I do is I have all these torn up brown scraps with

  • no glue
  • no ink
  • tear that up into pieces
  • 3-6 inches

as I put scraps into the food bowl, layer with brown paper when the bowl is full

paper is nice and dry and it’s decomposable, it’s plant matter the worms will eat that

That’s how I control excess moisture

in the worm bin

limited on space

here you can build a 10 foot by 10 foot worm bin but I knew that’s not happening here in the Urban garden. I got big flower boxes

  • 2 to 2 and half feet long by 8 inches by 10 inches tall
  • drilled holes with a drill
  • 8″ to a quarter inch across all over the sides

I have 2 of those side by side I stashed between two pots. 

I put a piece of wood

seating plank you could sit on. Across the pots so the worm bins are out of site

top off

It’s key to have 2 bins

for a gardening application

one I keep filling up, 

more and more food in there and give it the occasional turn

excess moisture


don’t add any more to it

I just leave it alone

empty bin

once it’s full

turn to the empty bin,

by the time I have the second bin filled up I go take a look at the frist bin and it’s mostly decomposed and that’s most certainly the case with our warmer weather here. 

I’ve been putting stuff in it all winter and spring

late winter

should have some nice worm compost end of july

Hidden Half of Nature compost bin

In an urban environment

You don’t want

  • raccoons rats, possums
  • squirrels
  • cats
  • whatever can get in there

keep them out

piece of plywood that is cut just to overlap the top dimension

brick on top of it. I’ve had them over 5 years maybe going on ten and I’ve never had problem with rodents. I have talked with other neighbors who are like I have such and such. I said did you cover it up? And then I wonder Why are you leaving food scraps on top? IDK.

you really have to fort knox worm

worms you want your worms and microbrials…

NO Furry Mammals in the Worm bins

they do have a bottom! I have mine sitting on a hard surface

couple of pavers to keep it nice and level

leaches out into the soil

by these flower boxes I have a fence made out of dogwood shrub so my worm bins are feeding my living fence 

living fence in spring

woven fence

worm bins are feeding my living fence

great nutrients set those near a plant that would enjoy

living fence no leaves

My mom has problems with rodents where she lives in NY. We have rotating bins here too. I was thinking it was because of the lid. Do you have air holes in the lid?



How big? The diameter of a dime?

no bigger then the diameter of pencil…

I don’t think we could keep it out all winter in Montana? How cold is it there?

we do w

we were gone last winter, I was watching the weather wasn’t much warmer. We got a number of freezes and some snow. It would be cold would be high teens, lower twenties

that will happen

have never had complete die off. 

come fall, late fall, I want to make sure I have enough in both worm bins that they will move to the center of worm bin and avoid getting frozen.

another thing a person could do to keep it going year round

person could fashion an insulating blanket

knew that a freeze was coming up

An old moving blanket, where you have dry snow throw an insulating blanket on a back deck might provide enough to keep them from freezing.

IDK I think it would have to be indoors. 

Maybe in a garage or a shed. If you’ve got big old compost bins that freeze solid in the winter.

A lot of my listeners are in warmer climates in California, Texas, NY, Florida and Australia!


I did talk to a woman in Canada. Cathy’s Crawly Compostersin Toronto!

We kept having melons and grapes, Mike kept saying they want more what you eat and we didn’t have lunch scraps.


PART 2 Of My Interview Begins Here

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.

I won’t have anything in particular in mind, I know there is something that needs doing out there. The way I decide depends on the time of day. 

Is it morning? I’m walking around with a cup of tea. I just walk around and I’ll look at something and think that’s what I’m gonna do right now. Maybe 

I’m gonna cut the sage back hard and Im gonna mulch it.

I have my coffee grounds, I have containers of various kinds of organic matter, I’ve got my wood chips, especially with this new load I scored, and I still some leaves so I’m gonna mix some mulch! I’m gonna mix some mulch up girl!

It all depends what bites me. If it’s a drizzly kind of day,I want to be more active to stay warm. 


put it all in a big pile

all of our pruning

most of yard waste bin

I don’t want to spend my prime time  shoehorning more stuff then the bin can hold

I’ll pile that stuff

Sometimes I’m in the mood, I’m gonna go shoe horn all that stuff into the bin right now!

putterer and multi-tasker

on my mood and how much time I have

this time of year

This time of year I can go a little nuts too many things on

plants growing like crazy

  • pruning,
  • mulching
  • transplanting a little seedling from here to there

I’ll stand back and look at something and I think that’s not really what I expected that to do. Suddenly I’m in the middle of some massive pruning job! 

That’s my favorite thing, I’ll get lost out there jackie! It feels like five minutes!

It’s an amazing feeling!

I just kind of go in circles. There’s always 75 items on my to do list and they all need to get done and so I will work on the one that fits me at the time. What’s the point of staring at a blank page, when you hear the story in your head you’re gonna write it, when you see the painting in your head you paint it. Why stare at a white page and let the other projects sit?

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be, I’m gonna guess it’s your pruners.

No, you are right? It’s my pruners,

product placement

A lot of people swear by Felco pruners

fine pruners

One year, about 15 years ago, the company Stihl

  • chainsaws
  • blowers
  • generators

They also had at that flower and garden show

  • loppers
  • pruners
  • hand tools

StihlPrunerI picked up their pruners and they fit my hand like a glove. I don’t have a super small hand bumy hand are on the small size

I just picked up these prunersI can easily grasp them without stretching and they have one of these quick release. They pop upon and lock them up when I need to. These pruners have never failed. I bought a new blade a while back.

They are the most fantastic! I have a set of sharping stones, so a few swipes of my stone and they sharpen up real quick! I would never leave home

Stihl Pruners

You remind me of my mom, I can picture her everywhere with her pruners.

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

I made this thing for my book club about a week ago, this is how you know somebody likes something. We’re all chatty because we’re a book club. So it was my turn to host. You something hits the spot and every one is looking each other in the eye saying, “mmmm,” “what is this?” Not much talk, just a lot of chewing.


It’s asparagus season. I had a red potato layered salad.


  • potatoes
  • asparagus
  • spring onion
  • with this dynamite dressing


  1.  Take the red potatoes and yukon steam to al dente.
  2.  Steam the asparagus and get a nice
  3. Take a spring onion and slice nice and thing.
  4. Let is all cool, get nice and cool

You create a lasagna affect

The potatoes cut so they re thin flat circles no more then a quarter inch

bottom of a rectangular dish

Then herbs are starting to pop. I keep herbs in pots. I’m gonna make a green goddess dressing!

Green Goddess Dressing

  • fresh parsley
  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • a lot a couple of big handfuls

Put in a 4 cup measuring cup and add

  • olive oil
  • chopped up garlic
  • mustard
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • salmon (chicken, tuna) optional protein

Immersion blender

that was my dressing. Thinned it out with some milk, olive oil

  • salt and pepper
  • chili flake

That would be like my sauce for this lasagna dish.

In goes a layer of potatoes

  • salt and pepper
  • green goddess dressing
  • mustard in the dressing
  • asparagus
  • onion
  • cooked salmon on e layer
  • chicken or tuna 
  • layers of cooked vegetables
  • some kind of protein
  • key is to get fresh herbs for your green goddess dressing

Everyone was like under hypnosis eating that salad. The key is the garden fresh herbs!

If I could do nothing else I would have herbs growing in my window boxes. Try to grow herbs.

My mom is like that. Her garden is like magical she goes out and just starts clipping away and her salads are just amazing and always taste just a tiny bit different. Mike grew me this giant planter of marjoram. I always have some, it tastes a lot like oregano right? I have a ton of oregano. I might have to try that this week we’re having a pot luck at school.


A favorite internet resource?

There’s a garden site I like. It’s 

  • opinionated
  • informative
  • fun

It’s called garden rant.

My podcast is doing really well. Because of guests like you!

Just about a year ago I was at 125,000 downloads and now I’m about at 300,000!

I was just thinking Mike and I delivered the paper for a year. I took a year and a half off from teaching but it enabled me to start the podcast. Cause even last summer I worked at a golf course and it was hard to keep up, but that night time job enabled me to do it. I always said when we were doing it there would be a purpose. Was there a woman named Annie? I think I might have found them on Twitter. I used to be on Twitter more.

Because it’s a group of people. You get a lot of different content. You should check them out. Each of these people have their own website. You can always go to their individual websites. My guest would be that at least one of them would be interested of being on the podcast. 

#groundChatShe’s on Twitter and Facebook. She’s out of Toronto. I met her speaking at Toronto Organic  Growers conference a couple of years ago. Her name is Christina and every Friday morning she does this thing on Twitter called Ground chat


also Facebook under  I believe  groundchat Soil in Gardening Group

Why that is cool there’s a tweetup basically on Friday mornings. She will get a guest in and pick a topic and you get to read all kinds of all about this particular topic and interact with other people. I just bumped into her on Facebook too. 

its all about soil! Not entirely but you know ground = soil

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

The one book…. I mentioned earlier

on my mind,

read it

most recently

tree people

hidden life of trees

There’s another book, it may be out, if not gonna be out soon! 

I ran into this book and person via twitter! It looks like it’s gonna be terrific. Called 

HumaneGardenerThe Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

google that title. By Nancy Lawson

Out of the south east, North Carolina

What I love so much about her and looking forward to the book. One of her tweets just cracked me up something like this.

“gardeners it’s time to lay down the weapons”

what people have done to the soil. How our behaviors and affect other life forms in the soil and our gut. That just struck a cord with me. The whole message and topic really resonated with me. 

I think the listeners will love this because one of my most downloaded episodes. Number 2 Kim Romeril from New Zealand, talked about Cruelty Free Living. and also Jon Moore was the first one to mention no-dig gardening to me.

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature

What’s your book about?

We thought we would be writing about the potential to store carbon in soil

the Microbial roots of life and health

our garden

bigger point

our soils have lost a lot of carbon and filling them back up on the soil

when you start

we pick the hidden half of nature

we knew we were writing

a microbiome

a plant or person or goldfish or cat

community of microorganisms that are indigenous

bacteria or virus

in or


odd single celled



write a little bit about to ground people in the microbes

what we are now learning



plant world

microbirom of a plant

most diverse and concentrated around the roots of a plant

in our own bodies the same thing is true different communities the equivalent of a root in a plant is our digestive tract not the whole part

the bottoms part

the colon

root stysemt of a plant

grand ecosystmes to our selves

mocriobail roots of life and health

how the micro biomes interact with their host

  • a tree
  • a tomato plant
  • human
  • dog
  • cat

so on


in the book

basically comes down to this


colon roots of a plant

symbiotic relationships


detailed and necessary

pollnators and plants

relationships and b

plant roots

how these micro organisms

assimilate and break down nutrients

microorganisms in the colon and soil

consumming things need to eat too

excreting out of their other ends

excreting waste products

need a new name not waste

our bodies some have big medicinal effects

control inflamtaion


can fend off pathogens and bad microbes

in the botanical world

produce different chemical compounds

will help the plant fend off pathogens

respond to stresses in the environment

took a deep dive

faced a major health challenge

began to have a lot of questions about ttemicrobimoems of

what’s going on in our garden

how the human body

we all need to know

what we can

Inland NW Food Network

speaking at the Inland Northwest Food Network in Couers d’elane

Inland Northwest Food Network

intersted in food and farming and I was speaking with at their monthly meeting a couple of weeks ago and somebody come up to me after the talk. I would have never thought of this. She said you know what your book is.

We’re always kind looking at the book in ways to describe it so people sayI know what you mean. 

She said “it’s like a John Grisham novel for biology geeks”

sort of

the lawyer books about the underdog and they’re quite page turners. 

We weave the science to a story with history theres a lot of ag and medicine that is based on old concepts. One of the oldest concepts that we need  to overall is that microorganizms are bad and we should irradiate them. 

  • it is wrong
  • it has backfired on us in farming and in medicine.

The messages in our book are really important for people to understand because I think of micro-biomes as the greatest unknown conservations project out there. I am concerned about polar bears and whales and birds! And all of that stuff. But there’s a part of nature, what we call

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature

that is hugely important to the health of every lifeform  of this planet

Microorganisms are involved in the grand cycles that run our planet form

  • nitrogen
  • oxygen
  • carbon dioxide

it’s hard to get your arms around a micro-organism they’re not warm and fuzzy and they don’t look pretty but once you start dipping your toes into wha they do, you think OH1 yeah! I never knew. And then you start developing a different way of thinking about the soil.

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

We kind of have a tag line that sums up the 

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature

What we really ought to be thinking about is to figure out ways that we can nurture and culture the micro organisms we need to have in our lives! They underpin our

  • health
  • happiness
  • wellbeing

they all need to eat

end of our talks is

don’t forget to mulch inside and out…

How do we connect with you?

Our website dig2grow.com to  find out more about us,

Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

The Hidden Half of Nature

Dig2Grow Facebook Page Anne Bikle

facebook dig2growbooks

there you’ll find

About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

Leave a Comment