Just as he demystified the soil food web in his ground-breaking book Teaming with Microbes, in this new work Jeff Lowenfels explains the basics of plant nutrition from an organic gardener’s perspective. Most gardeners realize that plants need to be fed but know little or nothing about the nature of the nutrients and the mechanisms involved. In his trademark down-to-earth, style, Lowenfels explains the role of both macronutrients and micronutrients and shows gardeners how to provide these essentials through organic, easy-to-follow techniques. Along the way, Lowenfels gives the reader easy-to-grasp lessons in the biology, chemistry, and botany needed to understand how nutrients get into the plant and what they do once they’re inside.
From the Back Cover
Smart gardeners know that soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life—not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web—the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants. By eschewing jargon and overly technical language, the authors make the benefits of cultivating the soil food web available to a wide audience, from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals.
This revised edition updates the original text and includes two completely new chapters—on mycorrhizae (beneficial associations fungi form with green-leaved plants) and archaea (single-celled organisms once thought to be allied to bacteria).
About the Author
Jeff Lowenfels is a weekly columnist for the Anchorage Daily News. He is the founder of Plant a Row for The Hungry, a program that has created over 14 million meals to feed the hungry. 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. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.