Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition

Timber Press
18
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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.
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About the author

Wayne Lewis is a lifelong Alaskan gardener. He has worked with Jeff Lowenfels on many projects over the past 25 years, including the now national Plant a Row for the Hungry program, which encourages gardeners to donate a portion of their harvest to charitable organizations in their community.

Jeff Lowenfels is the author of a trilogy of award winning books on plants and soil, and he is the longest running garden columnist in North America. Lowenfels is a national lecturer as well as a fellow, hall of fame member, and former president of the Garden Writers of America.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Timber Press
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Published on
Sep 10, 2010
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Pages
220
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ISBN
9781604692549
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Language
English
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Genres
Gardening / Organic
Nature / Ecology
Science / Life Sciences / Biological Diversity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helène feed more than two hundred families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments. The secret of their success is the low-tech, high-yield production methods they’ve developed by focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

The Market Gardener is a compendium of la Grelinette’s proven horticultural techniques and innovative growing methods. This complete guide is packed with practical information on:

Setting-up a micro-farm by designing biologically intensive cropping systems, all with negligible capital outlay Farming without a tractor and minimizing fossil fuel inputs through the use of the best hand tools, appropriate machinery, and minimum tillage practices Growing mixed vegetables systematically with attention to weed and pest management, crop yields, harvest periods, and pricing approaches

Inspired by the French intensive tradition of maraichage and by iconic American vegetable grower Eliot Coleman, author and farmer Jean-Martin shows by example how to start a market garden and make it both very productive and profitable. Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think.

Jean-Martin Fortier is a passionate advocate of strong local food systems and founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized model for successful biointensive micro-farming.

The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure Catching and conserving water in the landscape Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it’s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that’s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.

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