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Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels

The book, Teaming with Microbes, may leave a reader inspired to learn more and in awe of the world below their feet. If that is the case, Jeff Lowenfels' book may be a good next choice.

Reviewed by Stacy Reeves

Teaming with Microbes,  by Jeff Lowenfels

Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels was recommended to me upon the purchase of my first worm bin. As I took a dive into the world of vermicomposting (or perhaps I should say tunneled into), Lowenfels' book was just the ticket to increase my passion for caring for these invertebrates. Though it's not an instructional on the do's and don'ts of worm bedding, food and breeding, it does highlight the many benefits worms and other soil life contribute to a gardener's goals. 


Lowenfels' book is a wealth of information concerning the soil food web. It contains 24 chapters reviewing the complex relationships of anything from bacteria to mammals to trees. If a gardener is interested in soil health, organic gardening, or maximizing nature's processes, Teaming with Microbes is a great read. Lowenfels highlights how slime, wastes, exudates, and tunnels work together to create soil that is not only rich in nutrients but, more specifically, rich in nutrients that have been transformed and unlocked in such a way to be readily available for plant use.


The book would be worth a second read or to be used as a reference for gardeners working to "team" as effectively as possible with their garden soil's inhabitants and systems. The overarching lesson of the book is that it's far better to encourage nature's systems than to override them and therefore, Lowenfels speaks against chemical treatments. He highlights the symbiotic, complex and dynamic relationships that exist best with all the "good guys and bad guys" at play.

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