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Living Soil, Planttok and Finding Creativity Through Plants with Dirty Roots Berlin, Ep 179



Have you ever wondered about the fascinating world of soil biology and the joy of creativity through plants? In this episode, we're joined by Adam from @dirty_roots_berlin to learn all about the importance of living soil, growing your own soil, and using nature to combat nature. Plus, we'll dive into how TikTok offers a refreshing and diverse platform for sharing your love for plants and exploring your unique personality! We'll also discuss how plants can help us reconnect with our sense of awe and wonder and inspire us to embrace creativity and curiosity in unexpected ways. So get ready to join us for an inspiring and enlightening discussion about all things green!

In this episode, we learn:

  • [00:05] How caring for plants helps us reconnect with our inner child and inner student
  • [02:49] TikTok is teeming with creators sharing their plant expertise!
  • [05:13] Adam, creator of Dirty Roots Berlin, talks about his unique approach to plant care
  • [07:24] The best way to take care of plants may not be what you think it is
  • [08:24] Why Adam likes collecting large plants and those that serve a function (featuring Bee Baths!)
  • [10:03] What inspired his bee garden and how did the idea of using a 3D printer for set pieces lead to the bee bath design?
  • [11:50] How Adam's curiosity about plant nutrients and microbes led to an innovative approach to indoor gardening
  • [16:10] Why did Adam move to Berlin and how has his plant collection changed?
  • [18:56] Why is it important to have the best bedding for a good night's sleep?
  • [21:24] On the importance of replicating natural conditions for successful houseplant care
  • [24:26] What are those “globes” and what makes them different?
  • [28:17] What is soil biology, or living soil, and how does it contribute to nutrient cycling for plants?
  • [37:52] How can plants help people reconnect with their inner creativity and awe?
  • [39:51] Should you sanitize your houseplant scissors?
  • [43:41] What are some cost-effective ways to propagate plants, and why is failure important?
  • [46:59] What's different about the plants in Berlin's grocery stores and garden centers?
  • [48:00] How can grow lights help bring spring and summer indoors year-round?
  • [49:55] Adam's distinct method of engaging with his audience on TikTok.
  • [55:32] How do TikTok and Instagram engagement differ?
  • [58:32] Have you seen Adam’s planty bathroom?
  • [01:00:09] Who are Adam's favorite TikTok creators?
  • [01:01:19] Where can you follow Adam on social media?


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What is Living Soil?

Have you ever stopped to think about what lies beneath your feet, plant friends?

The soil that we walk on is teeming with life, and it's a fascinating world that most of us take for granted. Soil biology, or living soil, refers to the microscopic critters that live in soil, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and microarthropods. These tiny creatures are the main drivers of nutrient cycling, which is crucial for plants to access the nutrients they need.


Plants Don't Eat Food, They Eat Light!

As you may already know, plants don't actually eat food. They get the vitamins they need from sunlight, but they do require minerals and other nutrients that are found in the soil. Soil biology takes raw organic matter and breaks it down into inorganic chemicals, such as inorganic nitrogen, which can then be dissolved in water and taken up by plants.

Good soil biology is essential for healthy plant growth, and you can use microbes to help break down organic matter and make nutrients available to your plants. By creating a healthy environment for soil biology to thrive, you can avoid the need for synthetic fertilizers and instead use natural solutions to provide your plants with the nutrients they need!


Growing Your Own Soil

You can grow your own soil by using vermicompost and composting your own waste. By seeding it with a little bit of good soil biology from a natural source, you can create a thriving environment for your plants. The plant itself will communicate with the soil biology and attract the specific bacteria, fungi, and protozoa that it needs for optimal growth.


Nature vs. Plastic Bottles

Instead of using plastic bottle products that kill life, why not use more life?

For example, instead of using products that kill fungus gnats, you can increase the amount of hypoaspis miles, a soil mite that feeds on fungus gnats. Using nature to combat nature can lead to a more sustainable and healthy environment for your plants.

So next time you're outside, take a teaspoon of soil and throw it in your compost. You never know what kind of amazing soil biology you might end up with! Just remember, creating a healthy soil environment for your plants is not always as simple as throwing an avocado in a potting mix. It takes some basic knowledge, so go binge some soil science content and bring out the soil biology enthusiast in you!


Planttok: Why Plant TikTok is the Best Thing to Happen to the Internet

From bee gardens to jogging trolls, and even a showering plant enthusiast, TikTok is the perfect place to share your love for plants and explore your unique personality. Here are a few reasons why we love TikTok and Plant TikTok in particular:

  • The Absurdity is Refreshing

TikTok is a place where you can let your hair down, forget about the rules, and embrace the absurd. Adam loves the absurdist humor that the platform offers. He creates videos that are funny, bizarre, and sometimes downright weird, but always refreshing.

TikTok allows you to be flexible in your content creation. Adam explains that he has different aspects of his personality that he showcases on Instagram and TikTok. Instagram is polished, while TikTok is more chaotic. This flexibility is key to keeping your content fresh and engaging.

  • Embrace the Clickbait

While clickbait might be seen as a negative thing, Adam shows that it can be used in a fun and authentic way. His videos are sometimes outrageous, but always honest. The clickbait aspect is just a way to draw people in and share his love for plants with a wider audience.

  • TikTok is Diverse

TikTok is a diverse platform that offers something for everyone. Whether you're into plants, music, dance, comedy, or any other interest, you'll find your place on TikTok. You will find a whole new community of plant creators on TikTok that you had never seen on Instagram, plant friends!

TikTok is a fun and exciting platform that allows you to be creative, authentic, and sometimes downright absurd. Plant TikTok is a vibrant community that celebrates all things green, and it's the perfect place to share your love for plants with the world. So what are you waiting for? Start creating and sharing your plant content on TikTok today! 


“Just F****** Do It:” The Joy of Creativity and Curiosity Through Plants

Plants have a special ability to bring out the inner child in us and help us reconnect with our sense of awe and wonder. For those who struggle with creativity, plants can be the perfect vehicle to explore curiosity and embrace a simpler way of thinking!

According to Adam, one of the best things about plants is that “they're just f****** plants.” They don't require a lot of special treatment or expertise to grow and thrive. Sure, you might lose some money if a plant dies, but there are also plenty of ways to get plants for free, like taking cuttings and propagating them.

So what's the key to exploring creativity and curiosity through plants? Just do it. Don't overthink it! Don't get too attached and don't worry too much about doing everything perfectly. Sometimes, the simplest approach is the best one.

As content creators, we can learn from the refreshing simplicity of just doing it. Rather than getting bogged down in our thoughts and emotions, sometimes we just need to leave it alone and let things be. And if a plant dies, it doesn't mean anything about us or our abilities as plant parents.

In the end, plants are a beautiful reminder that creativity and curiosity can be found in the most unexpected places. Whether it's taking a cutting from a ficus or simply admiring a blooming flower, there's always something new to discover and appreciate. So go ahead, embrace your inner child, and just effing do it!


Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Cozy Earth

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Soltech Solutions

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