264: Anne Biklé on Microbial Roots of Life and Health.

Mapping the nutritional highway that connects healthy soil to healthy plants.

 Anne is a biologist and avid gardener whose wide-ranging interests have led her into watershed restoration, environmental planning, and public health.  She uses her broad background and endless fascination with the natural world to investigate and write about people and their environments.

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Anne is also a rampant plant whisperer, coaxing plants into rambunctious growth or nursing them back from the edge of death.  She uses her garden, a nearby traffic circle and sidewalk planting strip as places to watch plants, people, and their interactions. She co-wrote The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health with her husband David Montgomery who was our guest on Episode #259.

In This Podcast:

The microscopic world of fungi and other soil organisms is crucial to the health of soil, plants and any being that lives off those plants. Biologist Anne Biklé understands the relationship between the lifeforms which create the microbiome that starts the food chains, and helps explain the basics in this conversation. 

Listen in and learn about:

  • Early memories of seeing a tall fragrant iris and falling in love with plants
  • Wanting a space for a garden
  • Struggling with a poorly planned landscape at her new home
  • Learning about the microbial world in the soil and in their bodies
  • Why microbes are so important
  • An explanation of the microbiome
  • Most of the life on the planet is congregated around the roots of plants
  • How the rhizosphere is related to plant growth
  • How a plant uses photosynthesis to convert carbohydrates to exudates which it then does not use directly itself
  • The relationship between plants and mycorrhizae fungi which forms a nutritional highway
  • What makes for healthy soil
  • The basics to healthy soil
  • The villain in her story of rebuilding soil at her property
  • How they overcame the poor soil condition
  • Mulching the soil from free materials
  • The carbon analysis of different areas in her yard and why there was variations
  • Get chip drop.com
  • Some resources she found to help get the soil replenishment started
  • The cardboard and mulch process she used on the side of the house
  • Why she is against landscaping fabric
  • Some key information available in The Hidden Half of Nature
  • Our important relationship with nature thru microbiomes

As well as:

  • Her failure – The time she killed a couple trees by piling mulch too high and smothered the roots
  • Her success – Learning to trust the plants to do what they do when given what they need
  • Her drive – Wanting to learn how and why the natural world works the way it does
  • Her advice – Do what you can – with what you have – at this time

Books written by Anne:

The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health written with David Montgomery

Producer’s note: Here is the link to David Montgomery’s Podcast.

Anne’s Book recommendations:  

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife by Nancy Lawson

How to reach Anne:

Website: dig2grow.com

Facebook: Dig 2 Grow Books

Twitter: @dig2grow


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