Organic Gardening and More
The Hidden Half of Nature
Calvin F. Bey CFBey1936@cox.net
The Hidden Half of Nature, the Microbial Roots of Life and Health, 2016, by David R. Montgomery, PhD, and Ann Bikle is a book about our tangled relationship with microbes. The authors make it clear -- for people and for plants -- “good health depends on Earth’s smallest creatures.”
The book is an interesting read. It shows how a geomorphologist and a biologist, who knew almost nothing about what lived in the soil, discovered the new world of soil biology through their backyard gardening experience. They were impressed how quickly their bleak back yard was transformed in to a “flourishing Eden” simply by adding organic matter.
They didn’t stop with just understanding the soil food web, they studied and then described the hidden half of nature that lives in our bodies, and how important it is to maintaining good health. The similarities of microbial action in the soil and our gut is well understood, but often ignored by the ways we treat our soils and our digestive systems.
It seems so easy and clear. If our goal is healthy soil and healthy bodies, then we ought to avoid anything that destroys the microbes. Many gardeners understand this and stick to using only products that are natural and non-toxic. Sadly, other gardeners and a great proportion of the commercial farmers elect to take a different path. Its one of the reasons so much of our topsoil is still eroding and ending up in the Gulf. David R. Montgomery, in a previous book, Dirt - The Erosion of Civilizations, describes how our farming practices have led to soil deterioration and erosion.
The authors go further to say that human health is likely tied to the health of the soils. Yes, we are what we eat, but more precisley we are what our microbes eat.
In the organic gardening classes that I teach (next one March 19), I spend a lot of time on soils, microbes, and how proper plant nutrition can lead to healthy plants, i.e. plants that are immune to insects and disease.
For many, the joy of gardening comes from marveling at the complexity and majesty of nature. Digging into the hidden half of nature might just be the most intriguing adventure ever. I encourage you to get educated and share. Many in the general public know nothing about the “hidden half of nature.” As gardeners, we can be the messengers.
Living in Harmony with Nature and teaching others to garden the natural (organic) way, with emphasis on practices that lead to NUTRIENT DENSE produce!
Welcome To Our Site
Our intent is simple: to provide useful information on gardening, health and sustainability issues. We will include class and meeting announcements, gardening information, and book reviews. The articles that Calvin writes for Garden Thyme, the Master Gardener Newsletter will be included. We will try to make this site easy to use and relevant.
- Harmony Gardens
- Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States
- Harmony Gardens is the home of Calvin and Doris Bey. As the name implies our goal is to live in harmony with the Laws of Nature. We are concerned about the environment, energy efficiency, organic gardening, alternative health, and sustainability issues. We love our Stitt Energy Systems Inc. energy efficient home, which received a First Place NAHB National Award for 2003. Calvin is a retired USDA Forest Service scientist. Each year he teaches classes in Organic Gardening in February and March and again in September. Doris is a retired RN. Calvin and Doris have put their energy efficient house up for sale (by owner). See first post for description, pictures, and house design.
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