November 20, 2010
Since 2006 when Lowenfels and Lewis published their original version
of Teaming with Microbes, scientists have made discoveries about the
life in the soil that required that the authors update their work. In
the first section, the new Chapter Four introduces archaea (ar-KEY-
ah), once thought to be a weird type of bacteria. One of their
critical functions is converting atmospheric nitrogen into a plant-
In the second section, the new Chapter Nineteen discusses
mycorrhizal fungi, whose associations with plant roots extends the
root systems, providing nutrient delivery in exchange for sugars from
As for illustrations, who doesn’t like the microscopic photos of
science fictiony creatures grappling for survival?
The second section gives all the specifics you’ll need to manage your
own soil food web, make compost and compost teas, a calendar for when
to do what, and a list of simple rules.
In the introduction the authors say, “Once you are aware of and
appreciate the beautiful synergisms between soil organisms, you will
not only become a better gardener but a better steward of the earth.”
They provide clear guidance for achieving both in this excellent book.