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' 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.
"A breakthrough book. . . . well worth owning and reading. No comprehensive horticultural library should be without it." --American Gardener
"Digs into soil in a most enlightening and entertaining way." --Dallas Morning News
"Required reading for all serious gardeners." --Miami Herald
"The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening." --Pacific Horticulture
"This intense little book may well change the way you garden." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Exceptional. . . . A brief, clear overview of scientific information with which every gardener should be familiar." --Monterey Herald
"Sure, it's a gardening book, but it has all the drama and suspense of an extraterrestrial thriller. A cast of characters without eyeballs or backbones. Battle scenes with bizarre creatures devouring one another. Only this book is about as terrestrial as it gets." --Anchorage Daily News
"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." --The Oregonian
"Read this book and you'll never think of soil the same way." --Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"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
"A must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals." --Virginian-Pilot
"It takes readers underground to meet the critters that live if you let them under the garden." --Rockland Courier-Gazette