April 14th, 2007

reading, activism, writing

Book # 17: Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web

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.

x posted: Blog, 50bookchallenge, Gardening, compost_wackos