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1 Burnside Gardening- Organic Gardening

This title in other editions

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web

by and and

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web Cover

ISBN13: 9780881927771
ISBN10: 0881927775
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening." The Washington Gardener

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"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)

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

grubbyblog, May 23, 2010 (view all comments by grubbyblog)
If you are a gardener who isn’t afraid of some food for thought, read Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web.

It has an interesting premise, and does a nice job of supporting it: To reduce the amount of work and resources that you have to add and remove from the system, make better use of naturally occurring processes.

In a natural setting such as a forest or jungle, plants can thrive without any human intervention. There is a web of dependencies and products that allow resources to be acquired, used, and then made available again in some form to something further down the line. Plants need fertilizer, and if you follow the chain of events, they eventually become fertilizer with help from other parts of the web.

Conventional farming and gardening methods, on the other hand, attempt to restrict this web to the bare minimum required to produce the product that we want (fruits, vegetables, feed, etc.).

Now as any indoor gardener can tell you, the further you get away from a plant’s natural environment, the more responsible you become for supplying the needs that were being filled by other members of the web. For example, if you take a plant away from the sun, you become responsible for supplying light. If you remove the natural sources of nutrients, you become responsible for supplying the plants with nutrients, and so on.

In order to help explain what these naturally occurring factors are, the first part of the book describes the web from dirt and bacteria up to animal life. For material that contains a lot of Latin words, it is very straightforward and easy to understand. Much more the way textbooks should be written, instead of how they are. I have a feeling that I will be using it as a reference many times as I follow my own gardening path.

Once the Soil Food Web has been described, and the reader encouraged to take a more holistic, synergistic view of their garden, the second part of the book explains some ways to apply this knowledge. Instead of trying to force your garden to perform, you nurture and nudge it in the direction you want using compost, mulch, compost teas and so on. Like training an animal to perform tricks, you encourage your garden to do what you want, and discourage it from doing what you don’t.

To help readers distill the knowledge in the book down to a more manageable level for quick reference, there is a list of “The Soil Food Web Gardening Rules” which are nineteen statements that are the essence of some of the most important concepts in what the book has to say. It also has my only complaint about in the book: I would have liked a reference from the list of rules, to the relevant sections in the book.

It is the best book on garden interdependencies that I have read. Even though the topics discussed have given me a lot to think about, and the possible ramifications will have me referring back to it on a regular basis, the writing is so straightforward and smooth, that it has an almost “quick read” property to it. I finished it in two evenings.

If you want to consider yourself a “well read” gardener, put this on your list.

Peace, love and puka shells,

Grubbycup
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Colleen Miko, November 2, 2009 (view all comments by Colleen Miko)
Lots to learn here about the soil food web with helpful information on how to enrich one's soil. Specific recommendations for improving soil with consideration for the type of plants one is cultivating make it a practical read. Soil science is a burgoning field and this book should be updated in a few years to reflect new scientific discoveries regarding the efficacy and applications of compost tea. That being said, the book is still very germane and important to read.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Trent, July 26, 2008 (view all comments by Trent)
This is the best book about gardening that I have ever read: a fascinating and detailed account of astounding variety of life in healthy soil and all the rich interconnections amongst them. Given this knowledge, it is obvious that fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and even roto-tilling are proufoundly damaging to the productivity of our plants, which I always understood on an intuitive level, but this book provides the scientific details behind it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780881927771
Subtitle:
s Guide to the Soil Food Web
Author:
Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis and Elaine Ingham
Foreword:
Ingham, Elaine
Author:
Lowenfels, Jeff
Author:
Lewis, Wayne
Publisher:
Timber Press
Location:
Portland, Oregon
Subject:
Techniques
Subject:
Organic
Subject:
Food chains (Ecology)
Subject:
Soils
Subject:
Soil ecology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback - With dust jacket
Publication Date:
20060629
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
196
Dimensions:
6 x 9 in

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Related Subjects


Home and Garden » Gardening » Composting and Mulching
Home and Garden » Gardening » Organic Gardening
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.50 In Stock
Product details 196 pages Timber Press (OR) - English 9780881927771 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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