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Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Webby Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis and Elaine Ingham
Synopses & Reviews
Smart gardeners know that soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life — not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web — the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants. By eschewing jargon and overly technical language, the authors make the benefits of cultivating the soil food web available to a wide audience, from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals.
"The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening." The Washington Gardener
"This book has all the best dirt on all the best dirt. It...explains the basics of good soil practices, and it's written especially for home gardeners." Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Sure, it' s a gardening book, but it has all the drama and suspense of an extraterrestrial thriller. A cast of characters without eyeballs or backbones. Battle scenes with bizarre creatures devouring one another. Only this book is about as terrestrial as it gets." Anchorage Daily News
"All good gardeners know healthy plants start with healthy soil. But why? And how? In Teaming with Microbes Lowenfels and Lewis reveal the new research in the most practical and accessible way." Oregonian
Book News Annotation:
Lowenfels and Lewis explain and promote the soil food web--that natural system where the teaming is going on, where the tiniest wild things live. This is soil that's alive, as contrasted with most urban soil depleted and deadened by chemicals. The reader learns how to bring beneficial biology back into the garden making richer, more natural soil conditions for better and healthier landscape plants, trees, and flowers and for vegetable gardens. Comprised of two main sections, first the basic science of soil and then the application of the soil food web to the home yard and garden, the book serves as a handbook on how to bring back all the creeping, crawling, churning microorganisms that make for gardening success. Illustrated with numerous color photos and graphics. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web — the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants.
Lowenfels and Lewis describe the activities of the organisms that make up the soil food web and explain how to foster and cultivate the life of the soil. The straightforward text is accessible to a wide audience of gardeners who want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals.
About the Author
Jeff Lowenfels has been writing a weekly column for the Anchorage Daily News since 1977. A member of the Garden Writers of America Hall of Fame, he is a leading proponent of gardening using the concepts of the soil food web. After working at his father's hobby farm in his youth, he developed a life-long love of gardening that has led him to writing countless articles, hosting a popular gardening television show, and founding a successful program for soup kitchens called "Plant a Row for the Hungry" that is active in 48 states and has resulted in over 14 million meals fed to those in need. A native New Yorker, he is a Harvard graduate and now works as an attorney in Alaska.
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