Teaming with Microbes, the Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web
Authors: Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
Publisher: Timber Press
In their book, Teaming with Microbes, authors, Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, highlight the importance of a healthy soil food web, describing the benefits a fully operational and functioning soil food web has on plants. Healthy soil is teeming with life! In the first part of this book, the authors introduce the reader to the microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi that live within the soil. The authors provide an overview of the components of the soil food web, with explanations of how each soil dwelling living being relates to each other.
If you’ve not studied horticulture or plant science before, Teaming with Microbes, is a great book to begin your learning, this book is written in an easy to understand language, without any off-putting, technical jargon. Reading Teaming with Microbes will help you to nurture the microbial life within your soil, to improve your gardening. This is a great book for an organic gardener, as all of the recommendations and advice are suited to organic gardening.
Teaming with Microbes includes thought provoking examples of how well-meaning gardeners add fertlisers to their plants and soils, which damage the soil food web and negatively affect their plants, with explanations of what the effects of those changes would be. The information provided in Teaming with Microbes will help gardeners to learn more about their own soil and discover ways in which they can improve their own soils, to benefit their plants. Reading this book could really help you to improve your gardening!
The second part of Teaming with Microbes, explains how the soil food web applies to gardening, the authors list nineteen simple rules to help the gardener in understanding and using the soil food web. (If you’re unsure of anything, there’s a reminder of the rules in full, at the back of the book). The intention of these rules is to take the guess work out of gardening with the soil food web in mind, and to make the concept of nurturing the soil food web easier for gardeners to fully comprehend. Readers will also benefit from a simple soil food web garden calendar near the back of the book, which features useful advice and direction for what to do during each of the four seasons.
There are instructions for how to make a soil trap, to attempt to discover some of the larger creatures that are living within your soil, readers will also find instructions on how to make a Berlese funnel, to collect and study the smaller, soil dwelling creatures. There are also instructions on how to make an accurate assessment of the microbial populations living in your soil.
The authors advise readers how to restore their garden or allotment’s soil food web; while further information on how to maintain the soil food web, once a healthy balance is achieved, is also given. The methods that are advised are all organic, and are suitable for any garden, regardless of its size or location. Readers will find information on composting, mycorrhizal fungi, mulching, worm composting, and inoculating your soils.
Teaming with Microbes provides advice that will enable gardeners to truly enrich and nourish their soils by enhancing the health of the soil food web within their own soil. This book would be a great gift for a novice or beginner gardener; the information provided would enable the gardener to understand the importance of caring for the soil and discover how to enrich and improve their own soil, thereby improving their gardening.
Teaming with Microbes is the first in a trilogy of plant science books written by Jeff Lowenfels, this first book – Teaming with Microbes is co-authored with Wayne Lewis. Of the three books (Teaming with Microbes, Teaming with Nutrients, Teaming with Fungi), Teaming with Microbes is the most suited to beginner gardeners and those wanting to begin to learn more of the creatures that live within the soil. Teaming with Microbes provides lots of information, in an easy to read, understandable format.
For more information about Teaming with Microbes, visit Timber Press’s website.
Other articles that may interest you……………
To read my review of the next book in this series, Jeff Lowenfels’ book, Teaming with Nutrients, please click here.
To read my review of the third book in this series, Jeff Lowenfels’ book, Teaming with Fungi, please click here.
To read my review of Tony Kirkham and George E. Brown’s book, Essential Pruning Techniques, please click here.