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

By Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

A breakthrough book. No comprehensive horticultural library should be without it.

American Gardener

When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains plants, and then become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of toxic substances. Teaming with Microbes offers an alternative to this vicious circle, and details how to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web. You’ll discover that healthy soil is teeming with life—not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. This must-have guide is for everyone, from those devoted to organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy plants without resorting to chemicals.

Awards for this book: Garden Writers Association Gold Award, Garden Writers Association Silver Award

Media reviews

"Digs into soil in a most enlightening and entertaining way."

Dallas Morning News

"Required reading for all serious gardeners."

Miami Herald

"This intense little book may well change the way you garden."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Exceptional.…​A brief, clear overview of scientific information with which every gardener should be familiar."

Monterey County Herald

"All good gardeners know healthy plants start with healthy soil. But why? And how? In Teaming with Microbes Lowenfels and Lewis reveal the new research in the most practical and accessible way."


"Sure, it’s a gardening book, but it has all the drama and suspense of an extraterrestrial thriller. A cast of characters without eyeballs or backbones. Battle scenes with bizarre creatures devouring one another. Only this book is about as terrestrial as it gets."

Anchorage Daily News

"Read this book and you’ll never think of soil the same way."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"A breakthrough book ... well worth owning and reading. No comprehensive horticultural library should be without it."

American Gardener

"A must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals."


"The authors have given gardeners an inside scoop on the scientific research supporting organic gardening."

Pacific Horticulture

"A must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals."

Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

About the authors

Jeff Lowenfels

Jeff Lowenfels has been writing an award-winning garden column for the Anchorage Dispatch News for over forty years. He is the founder of Plant a Row for the Hungry, a program that encourages all gardeners to donate one row 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 Association. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon.

Read more about Jeff Lowenfels

Wayne Lewis

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

Read more about Wayne Lewis

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