Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
Teaming with Nutrients is the second book in a series of three books written by Jeff Lowenfels, for the publisher Timber Press. Each book is focused on a different area of plant science; the other books being, Teaming with Microbes (written by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis) and Teaming with Fungi. If you want to find out how exactly plants eat, you wish you understood more about fertilisers, or you want to find out how a plant uses nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and the other macronutrients and micronutrients, then this is the book for you, as you’ll learn all this and more!
In Teaming with Nutrients, the author breaks each plant process down into easy to digest chunks, described in simple terms, to provide readers of differing abilities the chance to really understand this interesting subject. Every now and then, the author, Jeff Lowenfels, uses modern day household items to make comparisons to plant parts, to engage the reader and explain how the processes work, which makes this complex subject feel less daunting and more relatable for younger readers, enabling the reader to really comprehend this subject. Jeff’s writing is enthusiastic and enlivening, never stuffy, formal or boring; I really sensed the encouraging and supportive tone of this author’s voice on every page of the book. There are regular summaries and reminders of the key points that were covered in the previous chapter, which will help to check and reinforce your understanding of the subject matter, as you progress reading through the book.
The author gradually builds up the picture of each explanatory topic, beginning simply at the start of this book, with each continuing page building on what was explained before, to provide the reader with a full understanding the story of how plants eat. Readers will learn so much about plant nutrients, as this book explains how plants take in nutrients, why plants need nutrients, what each nutrient does for a plant. Readers will increase their knowledge of plant nutrients, which will in turn help them to grow healthy plants. Understanding what each nutrient does in cellular terms will help the gardener assess what’s wrong with their own plants, enabling the reader to successfully identify and address any problems their plants are facing.
The seventeen essential elements required for plant growth are explained in Teaming with Nutrients, as is the plant’s use of water in the uptake of nutrients. Readers will learn the functions that nutrients perform inside plants. There are regular ‘Summing Up’ sections and recaps, which will really help to build the reader’s confidence and comprehension on the subject matter.
I feel certain that even if you currently have a limited knowledge of plant science, after reading, Teaming with Nutrients you will have gained a clearer understanding of this quite fascinating subject. The author shares information on how to create fertilisers designed for vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and lawns, and provides information on the application and timing of fertiliser applications. UK gardeners need not worry about attracting bears, racoons, or possums with their choice of fertiliser, as these animals will only be concerns for gardeners in America or Canada!
Excessive use of nitrogen fertilisers causes pollution, yet if you can learn and understand how fertilisers work, this information will help you to avoid using any unnecessary fertilisers and will consequently help you to be a better and more sustainable gardener. Teaming with Nutrients provides information on the importance of soil testing. There are clear instructions on how and when to take soil samples and advice on how to decipher the results. Readers will benefit from learning about plants’ nutrient uptake and the mitigating factors that affect the quantity of nutrients that are available to plants. The practices that Jeff Lowenfels recommends in his book, Teaming with Nutrients are all organic.
I have read each one of this trilogy of ‘Teaming with‘ books, I have really enjoyed Jeff Lowenfels’ enthusiasm, his love of each of his book’s subjects, which shines out through his writing, and Teaming with Nutrients is no exception, the author’s passion is evident throughout this book, which is written in a friendly and supportive, encouraging style. There is a list of resources, which help to direct readers to further information on the topic of plant nutrition, and a glossary at the back of the book, which provides a useful reminder of the terms used in the book, which will help to check your understanding.
Teaming with Nutrients would make a super gift for a anyone interested in plant science or wishing to become a better gardener, it would be especially useful for horticulture students. This book is part of a trilogy of ‘Teaming with‘ books, published by Timber Press, which would make the perfect gift for a student of horticulture.
For more information about Jeff Lowenfels’ book, Teaming with Nutrients, visit the Timber Press website.
Other articles that may interest you……….
To read my review of Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis’ book, Teaming with Microbes, please click here.
To read my review of 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.
To see my 2017 list of recommended gifts for gardeners, please click here.