Author(s): Wayne Lewis; Jeff Lowenfels
Healthy soil teems with life--not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Chemical fertilizers injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and the soil becomes increasingly dependent on artificial, often toxic, substances. But there is an alternative: by strengthening the soil food web--the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms--gardeners can create a nurturing environment for plants. Teaming with Microbes extols the benefits of cultivating the soil food web. It clearly explains the activities and organisms that make up the web, and explains how gardeners can cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost tea. With Jeff Lowenfels' help, everyone--from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants--can create rich, nurturing, living soil.
Jeff Lowenfels is the Cal Ripkin of garden columnists. His weekly column has run in the Anchorage Daily News for over 27 years, never missing a single week. Jeff also hosts a weekly garden radio show. He hosted Alaska public television's most popular show, Alaska Gardens with Jeff Lowenfels. The show was so popular, at one point it ran four times a week. Jeff grew up working on his father's farm in Scarsdale, New York. He helped plant, weed, and mow, and picked fruits, flowers, and vegetables on eight acres of gardens, orchards, and beds. For the last 30 years, Jeff has lived in Anchorage, Alaska, where he has been able to translate his work-filled childhood into a meaningful and enjoyable hobby, founding Plant A Row for The Hungry, an active program that created over 14 million meals to feed the hungry in 2005. A popular national garden writer and leading proponent of gardening using the concepts of the soil food web, Jeff is the former president of the Garden Writers of America and was made a GWA Fellow in 1999. In 2005, he was inducted into the GWA Hall of Fame, the highest honor a garden writer can achieve. Jeff teaches home gardeners about the soil food web with a painless and extremely entertaining method. After just one hour, his audiences know how to return beneficial biology to their soils and why it is necessary to do so.