Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web

“Teaming with Microbes” has played a significant role in educating gardeners about the importance of soil health and the role of microbes in maintaining it. The book has had a broad influence, bringing the concepts of the soil food web and organic gardening to a wide audience.

Teaming with Microbes

Understanding the Unseen World Below

The Authors, Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis present a comprehensive and highly accessible guide to the complex world of soil microbiology. The authors’ clear and engaging writing style breathes life into the unseen microscopic world, making it understandable and fascinating to the average gardener.

The book’s first part, a primer on soil and soil organisms, introduces readers to the soil food web’s key players – bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoa, and more – in a way that is well-organized and easy to digest.

Practical Applications for the Gardener

The second part of the book is particularly noteworthy. It takes the theoretical knowledge from the first part and translates it into practical steps that gardeners can follow to improve their soil’s health and productivity.

The 19 action items outlined by the authors utilize compost, mulch, and compost tea to enhance the soil food web, methods that are explained in-depth and clear manner. This practical section is an invaluable guide for gardeners looking to nurture their soil and boost their garden’s health.

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition
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A Thoughtful Approach to Soil Management

What sets “Teaming with Microbes” apart from many gardening books is its emphasis on nurturing and understanding the soil’s ecosystem, rather than trying to control or manipulate it.

While the authors acknowledge that precise identification of soil microbes is often not possible, they stress the importance of fostering a diverse and balanced microbial community for soil health. The book presents a paradigm shift in how we approach soil management, encouraging gardeners to work with nature, not against it.

Education and Awareness of Soil Health

One of the book’s significant accomplishments is its role in educating gardeners about the importance of soil health and the myriad of microbes that contribute to it. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the soil food web, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life forms in the garden.

By shedding light on the soil’s often overlooked inhabitants, Lowenfels and Lewis have undoubtedly made a substantial contribution to the gardening community’s understanding and appreciation of soil microbiology.


“Teaming with Microbes” is a compelling read that combines scientific insight with practical advice. Despite some areas where the science might be disputed or further clarification could be beneficial, the book’s overall message is vital: understanding and caring for our soil’s microscopic life can unlock the full potential of our gardens.

I highly recommend “Teaming with Microbes” to gardeners seeking to deepen their understanding of the soil and its vital role in a thriving garden.


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    Author, blogger, podcaster, homesteading and permaculture enthusiast. I have a passion for sharing what I learn and helping others on their journey. If you're looking for me, you'll usually find me in the garden.

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