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Monday, July 18, 2011

Microbes & Composting

I recently came across an excellent book that will change the whole way we think about soils.  It's titled "Teaming with Microbes" by Authors Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.

We all know the benefits of compost, it is beneficial for the retention of moisture but this book takes it one step further explaining how the microbes, bacteria and fungi's roll in converting it into a healthy productive soil for growing the most healthy plants and produce.  

It explains when we use chemical fertilizers how it takes the soil food web a long time to recover as we are doing much more harm than good.

I have found it such an impressive book, I simply can't put it down.  I thought from other books I have read that I had a good understanding but this book truly puts it in a form that is easy to understand, well worth getting hold of.

The Rodale Book of Composting is another excellent book, the composting bible in many peoples eyes, written for conditions in America but easily applied to local Australian gardens.

Of course we couldn't go past the excellent Jackie French and her book Soil Food, 1372 ways to add fertility to your soil.

On the weekend we were very fortunate to obtain a huge round bail of lucern that had got a little damp so was of no use to the farmer as feed.  What a score, for free, we are now going to build a new compost pile using biodynamic preparations, so in a few months we will have a beautiful friable compost teaming with microbes, worms, bacteria and beneficial fungi.

We use Sugar Cane to mulch our gardens and have found that this in itself brings lots of earthworm activity and is excellent at retaining soil moisture.

                   A healthy Zucchini, the plant mulched with sugar cane.

These three books are the most valuable books to anyone growing their own food.

Cheers Shirley

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shirley,
    Thanks for the great review of Teaming With Microbes. I am glad you liked it almost as much as I did writing it! And, if you like the book, let's arrange for me to give the lectures near you! Can't beat them!

    Anyhow, thanks for the kind words,
    Jeff Lowenfels
    Anchorage, Alaska