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January 24, 2007


By coincidence, my copy of "Teaming with Microbes" arrived in the mail just today. While I can't comment on the content with any authority yet, I can say that it is well organized, has an extensive index (8 pages), and being a soil scientist, it pleased me no end to see "soil science 28 - 42". There is also a most appreciated resources guide to labs and suppliers (4 pages). I was especially gratified to see a listing for a supplier of mycorhhizal fungi right here in Spokane. This gets me closer to pursuing my backyard terra preta nova garden project.

My favorite living-soil subject, glomalin (recalcitrant mycorhhizal fungally produced glycoprotein that accounts for 1/3 of world soil carbon) gets mentioned on page 37.

I was disappointed to see that my current soil obsession, bio-char, the foundational ingredient in terra preta nova, is not mentioned. I have gotten the impression that Elaine Ingham, who has achieved demi-goddess standing in soil-web circles, was skeptical of charcoal as a soil amendment at the time the book went to publication, so I am not particularly surprised.

Jenn... great info on some other books about soil. I'll include it in the Garden Bloggers' Book Club round up next week.


If someone is just starting out and has really bad soil, where do they get the worms to perform the fertilizer test? They'll have to borrow some from the nearest organic gardening neighbor:)

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Wow, Annie, that's PAINFUL. No WORMS?!? Ow.

I have to set back and think about folks in that sorry of a position. I've been blessed with always living in Michigan's dark soil croplands.

No worms. I would think you could hit the bait store - get some red wigglers. But nowadays you have to be careful to not introduce worms to areas they aren't native to. Sigh.

So hard to live 'right' and so easy to go for the easy answers.

Well, Jenn, we never saw a worm when we first started to plant at our previous house here in Austin, and we didn't introduce any into the landscape. We mulched and used compost, etc., and a couple of years later - the worms just appeared.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Wow. Behold the power of compost!


Thanks for the kind comments about my book. Don't know if you are aware of it or not, but there is a companion volume (also HC and also out of print, though I have a couple of dozen copies I could sell) on growing flowers, and the botany and greenhouse sections make a great complement to SxS Veg.

I recently reviewed "Teaming" for "The American Gardener" and it is indeed a great book. Jeff is a recent convert and an old friend.

BTW, my name is spelled Shepherd, not Shepard. If you are curious, I am converting my Step by Step books (slowly) to web format at Garden Smarts (you can link off the URL provided above).

{Ed: "Shepherd, not Shepard." Oops. Thank you, I will correct that!

And thank you for your link. I am always eager to read more about gardening, esp. during our long Michigan winters.}

Thanks for the book recommendations/reviews! I'm always on the lookout for new books. ;)

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