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  • Teaming with Microbes

Teaming with Microbes

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Teaming With Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web
By Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

This accessible book explains the science of why home gardeners should grow organically to improve the health of their soil and plants. Whether you're a beginning gardener or an experienced grower, you will learn from this book.

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, often toxic, substances. But there is an alternative to this vicious cycle. We can garden in a way that strengthens the soil food web -- the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants.

Teaming with Microbes extols the benefits of cultivating the soil food web. First, it clearly explains the activities and organisms that make up the web. Next, it explains how gardeners can cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost tea. The revised edition updates the original text and includes two completely new chapters -- on mycorrhizae (beneficial associations fungi form with green-leaved plants) and archaea (single-celled organisms once thought to be allied to bacteria).

With Jeff Lowenfels's help, everyone -- from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals -- can create rich, nurturing, living soil.

 

“ I grow a lot of onions and carrots, which need constant weeding when they are young. My CobraHead is always the tool of choice because its sharp edges shave down weeds so efficiently. My garden is big and busy, but I have never lost a CobraHead because the curved neck can be hung on anything – a post, fence or even a tomato cage. I have a long-handled CobraHead, too, which I use in the garden for weeding and making shallow furrows. Confession: It makes a darn fine scraper in the chicken house, too. “

Barbara Pleasant, award-winning book author and contributing editor to Mother Earth News

“ I’ve found CobraHead to be one of the most durable tools out in the landscape. Used for a wide range of purposes, our volunteers also find CobraHead to be the preferred tool of choice. The longevity of this well-constructed tool will be measured in decades and beyond which is not typical anymore! “

Mark Dwyer, Director of Horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens (Janesville, WI).

“ I love my CobraHead because it is easy as 1-2-3 to get in between flagstones in order to easily pop out weeds!. “

Shawna is an author, columnist, blogger, photographer, and spokesperson with green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and healthy cooking who campaigns for social good.