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

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Product Description

Teaming With Microbes enlightens readers in two important ways. First, in clear, straightforward language, it describes the activities of the organisms that make up the soil food web, from the simplest of single-cell organisms to more familiar multicellular animals such as insects, worms, and mammals. Second, the book explains how to foster and cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost teas. By eschewing jargon, the authors make the text accessible 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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent - have the best yard on the block with half the work!
    This book is awesome for truly explaining organic gardening - both how and why. It tells you how to have an almost fertilizer-free lawn using microbes in compost tea and compost, and how to encourage the right kind of microbes for your various plants through the use of different kinds of mulches. It explains each step in the soil food web, how to identify any holes in your soil food web, and different steps you can take to improve the health and variety of microbes in your yard and garden. I was surprised at some common gardening practices which are actually bad for your yard!!! It was an enjoyable read with lots of interesting pictures, and made absolutely clear the importance of healthy soil when growing plants, and how to achieve it naturally and easily....more info
  • Everyone should read this book!!!
    Just finished it today...this book ROCKS!!! It was really easy to follow and understand what they were saying. Who knew that soil was so cool! Loved the photography, too. Can't wait to make my own funnel and see what's in my soil! Thanks so much for a fantastic book!...more info
  • One of the Best Gardening Books I have ever Read
    This is an awesome book! I understand soooo much more about how plants derive their nutrition in nature, and how we kill the good bacteria and fungus that enable them to feed themselves in nature, when we fertilize with artificial fertilizers.

    This book has changed the way I garden FOREVER. It is equivalent to learning how acidophilus is important to human health, or learning about the cycle that sets up in an aquarium and that is critical to the health of fish. Similarly, plants rely upon bacteria and fungus that they actively attract to their roots for nutrients which are released when worms eat the bacteria and fungus. You will never look at your garden in the same way again...

    I had always wondered what the white stuff was that grew in my wood chip pile, and whether it was good or bad for plants. Now I know, and also know which plants benefit from it!

    ...more info
  • teaming microbes
    it was suggested by a Master Gardner that we get this book. Came fast. I also work at our local library and we ordered it. ...more info
  • Teeming with Daffodils
    When you start "teaming with microbes" you'll soon want a tomato patch that is "teeming with daffodils." This book will show you how!

    I've heard about "no-till gardening" for years, but it seemed to be practiced by the slightly-flighty. This book explains in scientific terms why no-till is the best option for your garden. If you have an extensive knowledge of biology, you can skip to Part 2, but I recommend reading Part 1 so you can understand the biology of the soil. Don't be intimidated by this, though, the science is explained in an easy-to-understand manner (the authors weren't your high school teachers!).

    "Teaming with Microbes" has completely changed the way I think about my garden. When you follow their procedures, gardening becomes easier (no more turning the soil every spring) and cheaper (no need to buy fertilizers when you have almost everything you need right in your back yard!) and your garden, whether vegetable or flower or perennial, will become more productive.

    Best of all, you can plant daffodils in your tomato patch. ...more info
  • Embarrassed by my ignorance
    Prior to reading this book, I was one of the millions of Americans who bought into the wonders of "Miracle Grow" & "Turf Builder". Oh how wrong I was. After reading this wonderful book on the importance of the amazing world of soil, I've sworn off my dependence on these synthetic fertilizers in favor of compost & compost teas.
    In part one of the book , the author does a fantastic job of educating the readers on the make-up of soil. Then in part two, the author provides the readers with helpful soil improvement techniques that will hopefully wean America of its fascination with synthetic fertilizers. Every gardener should have a copy of this book in their library....more info
  • Microbes are important!
    I've met Jeff personally and heard him speak at various shows. I love his message and think his book is a wonderful introduction to the biology that is naturally occurring in your own backyard. I've read the book a couple of times, and recommended it to all my friends. Getting ready to buy another copy right now!

    If you're interested in organic gardening or even just learning more about your soil and how the different bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and micro and macro arthropods work together in helping your plant grow, this is the book for you!...more info
  • Best Organic Gardening Book I've Ever Read
    Finally, a REAL organic gardening book. Wish I had written it. It's an easy read; I feared that it might be an academic study. Great pictures. I only skipped chapter 13 on doing a soil census. I wished the author had addressed the roles of irrigation, mineral supplements, and organic fertilizers in increasing crop/fruit productivity. I'm not nitpicking about the author's chemistry. Excellent Book!
    ...more info
  • Very good, well written interesting.
    I am going to experiment with the advice in the book. I like the idea of being part of the macrocosm, so I look forward to the results. I thought the book was interesting and easy to read. The advice seems valuable....more info
  • 5 stars
    Never in my right mind did I think I would find interest and excitement in something I could not see or understand: soil microbes!

    It was a challenging and delightful read because of the clarity of content, the authors understanding of the Soil Food Web, and interesting fashion in which it was presented. I feel a whole new world has been opened up to explore and understand.

    If you are interested in soil science, organic gardening, and how it all comes together, this is an excellent book to read. You may only be "scratching the surface" to an intricate and delicate science but it is enough to understand the basics and lay a foundation for further study. ...more info
  • Teaming with Microbes
    I have not yet read the book, so I have no input on the book at this time. Thank you....more info
  • A must for the organic gardener!
    A beautifully written book. This book is simple and highly informative. It is a must read for everybody who is interested in organic gardening. Once you have read the book you will have a deep appreciation and understanding of soil. ...more info
  • This book will introduce you to your soil for the very first time.
    I've been writing on gardening subjects for 15 years, and have read a lot of what other authors write about soil, but I've never read anything like Teaming with Microbes. This book changed everything for me. I'm convinced that this is the best book ever written for non academics on soil science -- so much so that I intend to write a new book in my series of How-to-Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins II: Sequel to the Classic Book on Growing Giant Pumpkins from an entirely new viewpoint -- that in which I let the billions upon billions of microbes work for me, instead of me interfering with the optimum results. This book will make you so aware of your soil, that you will never use another pesticide or mineral fertilizer again. Mark my words: Teaming with Microbes changes everything....more info
    It would be difficult to resist the clarion call Jeff Lowenfels has issued on behalf of all the animated wealth he has unearthed at garden level. Ground zero is explosive with activity: diminutive, robust and markedly determined though vulnerable, hidden, silent. Microbes and Insects and Worms, oh my!
    Healthy plant life is dependent on healthy soil. Healthy soil is dependent on the interaction of a vigorous "soil web". That is a complicated tangle of simple life-forms vying for subsistence, existence or dominance. Out of this chaos come the energy, nutrients and protection that sustain a fertile root and leaf horizon. Who knew?
    The soil web has existed for eons but never in anticipation of fertilizers, rototilling, genetic engineering or industrial agriculture. With innocent abandon we commit assault and battery on the land that feeds us [and it took a ^@*$# lawyer to point that out!]. Well...attention must be paid!
    This little book pays attention. It's a friendly affair replete with drawings, graphs, compost recipes, a helpful summary and homey photos provided by a pretty indulgent wife.
    You might enhance your appreciation by attending one of Jeff's lectures. He is probably on some promotional circuit. Consult the event calendar of your regional horticultural society.
    This just may be fertile soil for a new religious movement, a seminal hybrid of nature and science without the blight of divisional rancor. There's just no ground for hypocrisy, apostasy or MiracleGro.

    ...more info
  • If you are ready to take it a step further.
    This book is not for everyone. The first half as the author refers to it is a science book in every meaning. Details, facts, vocabulary are all present. I've had a fair amount of science in college but never in this area. I'll admit it was a bit slow at the start. But once you get to the second half it all falls into place. When he starts to discuss different composts, you understand what is in them, what purpose they serve, because he's already given you the background.

    Cons not for everyone. ...more info
  • Buy this if you want a beautiful garden, now and the future. Feed the soil!!
    I dislike reading books but I found this book easy and fun to read. There are many technical/scientific explainations in this book but it still makes very good sense...common sense to a gardener perhaps. Through many years of gardening (usually 'organic') I found that a lot of what I have read I believe to be true; i.e. through experience it works! Some of the new things I've learned from this book I've tried and they appear to be working as well.
    I'm not an organic gardening 'purist' but I guess I've always taken care of the soil; using leaves, compost, cow/chicken manures, etc. without even realizing how healthy I was keeping my soil. Bottom neighbors can't seem to compete even though THEY try. Hey, I'm just gardening :)...more info
  • Excellent resource
    Despite the short length of this book, it was packed with lots of good information and was easy to read. It brought to my attention aspects of fungi versus microbial activity that I was never aware of and how these affect soil quality for gardens versus shrubs. The book has had an immediate payback for me, as I am a novice composter and now know how to do that better. It also described compost teas which I was only vaguely familiar with. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in gardening in an earth-friendly way or to those who have relied solely on inorganic fertilizers and need to learn their true effects....more info
  • If you really care about the environment

    To really protect our Earth, we need facts - not opinions; research - not sales pitches.
    This book could change how you see Nature; change your gardening practices; make
    a difference....more info
  • A must read for anyone who cares about the environment
    As other reviewers noted this is a 5+ star book. I agree w/ their comments and really have little more to add. I think the authors are passionate about their subject, not only as shown by the book's interesting content, but the presentation of this book. They choose high quality paper (should it have been recycled???) with beautiful photos of the soil's hidden helpers. I read it in an afternoon as one would a novel and highlighted pssages as I went along for easy reference....more info
  • Teaming With Microbes
    Well written book on the subject of soil health. Readable by both scientists as well as everyday gardeners. I'm going to make active Compost Tea this summer....more info
  • Really a "must have" if you're an organic gardener
    I'm gardening since 20yrs, the last decade I attempted an organic approach and failed - I got slugs and snails and all pests you can imagine.
    After reading this book I know why and how to "heal" my garden.
    I will recommand the book to all my friends....more info
  • Teaming with Microbes
    Easy book to read. My gardening methods have completely changed. I look at the my garden soil as a productive media which needs my care and not harm which, unfortunately, my past endevors lead to poor plant production. I couldn't figure out why. The book will make your gardening much more fun and the fertilizers and additives at the nursery will suddenly have positives and negatives that were not there before reading the book. Fred M.D...more info
  • Easy reading and informative
    I had to get this book for a botanical class I am taking. As I began to read this book I am grateful that this is the recommended text. It is pleasant to read and informative. ...more info
  • Must read!
    This is simply a fantastic read. Too often, the word "organic" can turn people off as an offshoot of hippy-mysticism. Here, the authors counter that by laying out the solid "science & logic" of letting nature do more of the work that traditionally breaks the gardener's back, wallet, and good cheer.

    Balanced, pragmatic, and entertaining; this is a must read for gardeners spanning the full spectrum from Iowan adherents of industrial agriculture, to Oregon vegan granola farmers. A GREAT companion book to this is The Living Garden: The 400-year History of an English Garden by George Ordish.
    ...more info
  • Teaming with Microbes
    This is a detailed description of organisms in the soil, what kind you need for different types of plants, and how to get and keep them. It explains why organic gardening is more efficient, and eventually an easier way to grow. It is well written and informative. ...more info
  • science made clear
    This book is exceptionally well written, presenting the science in regular English rather than journal article language. Everything is clearly documented with references in the scientific literature and excellent photographs to bring the underground world within view. I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about soil biology or wanting to know what hard science supports organic production practices. It is understandable to everyone, from high school students through university professors. Easy reading but not "fluff" ...more info
  • Very good book
    I am a very seasoned gardener already using many of the techniques proposed by the book. However my approach was based on intuition and experience. This book explains how all fits together in a simpler and more accessible way than the Soil Microbiology treatises.
    Strongly recommended for gardeners of all levels. ...more info
  • Learned a great deal about improving my gardens
    I has astonished at how much new information this book covered. Just the section on new oxygen activated compost teas was worth the price of the book. Highly recommended. I am starting to use the teas and can't wait to see the results....more info
  • Teaming with Microbes
    I love this book! I raise red wiggler worms and lecture on worms and composting. This book has added to my interest and fascination with worms and now with worm/compost tea. I will use it as part of my lectures and recommend it in my classes and lectures....more info
  • The why and how of organic gardening
    The first half of this book is an excellent and timely survey of the biological, not chemical, makeup of our soil and how each of the parts interact with the others and with the plants that grow in the soil. Backed up by current research, this part explains why we should be organic gardeners.
    The second section tells us how to garden organically; that is what we can and should do to grow healthy, trees, shrubs, perennials, lawn and vegetables in the most efficient and environmentally helpful manner saving us both time and and money....more info


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