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Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web Hardcover – Illustrated, July 15, 2006


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Hardcover, Illustrated
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Frequently Bought Together

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web + Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener's Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition + Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated (July 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881927775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881927771
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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." Kym Pokorny, The Oregonian
(Anchorage Daily News)

"For years, we've thought of the 'food chains' in our environment. Lowenfels and Lewis explain an even more wonderful idea: the 'soil food web.' Read Teaming with Microbes and keep it or give it to the library so others may learn of this astounding way to grow vegetables, trees, lawns."

(Detroit News)

"Sure, it's a gardening book, but it has all the drama and suspense of an extraterrestrial thriller.... Read this book and you'll never look at soil the same way."
(B & B Magazine)

"[This book] is a must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals."

(Virginian-Pilot)

“It is exciting that the revelations herein are the tip of the iceberg in the complex, microscopic world of our soil that will unfold in the coming decades.”
(The Oregonian)

"It takes readers underground to meet the critters that live if you let them under the garden."
(Rockland Courier-Gazette)

"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." 
(Anchorage Daily News)

"For years, we've thought of the 'food chains' in our environment. Lowenfels and Lewis explain an even more wonderful idea: the 'soil food web.' Read Teaming with Microbes and keep it or give it to the library so others may learn of this astounding way to grow vegetables, trees, lawns."

(Washington Gardener)

"Read this book and you'll never think of soil the same way."
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening."
(Pacific Horticulture)

"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.
(Nature's Way Resources)

"This is sure to gain that well-thumbed look than any good garden book acquires as it is referred to repeatedly over the years."
(Detroit News)

"This is the most complete book on the market about biological or organic methods in horticulture...highly recommended for all gardeners, landscapers, or anyone taking care of a lawn or garden."
(DrWeil.com News)

"[This book] is a must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals."
(Florida Survival Gardening)

“If you want to get a good understanding of how soils really work, and learn how to really feed your soil (and thus, your plants), there is a great book that explains it all very well, and also explains how to make really good compost and compost tea. It is concise and uses nonscientific terminology. The book is Teaming With Microbes; A Gardener's Guide To The Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.”



“The information in this book is eye-opening and consistently entertaining.”



“This very well illustrated hardback is a scientific view of many different kinds of soil microbes which include bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, nematodes and many others.”

From the Publisher

Teaming With Microbes describes the activities of the organisms that make up the soil food web and explains 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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Customer Reviews

Easy book to read.
Fred J. Vonstieff MD
There is a vast complex world in the soil and this book is a good introduction to help explain it.
Brian Paul Grubb
Highly recommend this book for beginners or long-term gardeners.
M. Pulse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Deirdre NYC on April 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've always known that there was more than meets the eye in all that dirt, and now I know what it is. It's life. Between the tiny pieces of rock (minerals) and the decaying plant matter, right next to the roots of plants and the above the clay level, lives billions of organisms. Each one, be it bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoa, worms, grubs or rodents, has a function in the soil.

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis is bursting with information helpful to gardeners. Using a science-based approach they characterize the roll of each inhabitant and component of soil and explain its contribution to the "soil food web." They even include 19 helpful rules to keep your soil fertile without fertilizers and to recover the life in damaged soil.

Questions about the type of compost (brown or green) needed to rebuild damaged soil are fully answered. They make a compelling argument against rototilling soil have step by step recipes for producing healthful compost teas.

I loved their thorough approach and because I've only been gardening for a few years, I finally feel like I have a place to go for definitive answers that eluded me before. My veggie garden needed something and I hope that the I can boost my soil and my output this year based on the information in this book. Time will tell, but this was a great book to point me in the direction that I hope fills my freezer and my stomach with food from my garden this summer.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Ladybug on February 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M. Pulse on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is revolutionizing the way I garden. I have learned so much about how to work with the soil and not be concerned about the bugs I see there. I am composting with knowledge and a purpose instead of composting just because. Highly recommend this book for beginners or long-term gardeners. This will challenge the way you have gardened...in a good way.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Tod F. Forman on February 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Callaway on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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