Garden Bloggers Book Club January Meeting

Welcome to the 3rd meeting of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. Today we are sharing our thoughts on Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis. And as is becoming our custom, we also came up with a way for those who didn’t read the book to participate by writing a post about anything related to the soil or compost.

So today’s club meeting is all about soil and compost and the creatures that live within it. I think for dessert we should have one of those dirt cakes, don’t you?

But since this is the Internet, I can’t personally serve you food and drinks, so grab your favorite drink and snack and give yourself some time to go through this post. As usual with the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club meeting posts, there are all kinds of links to explore.

Let’s dig in!

First you can go to Jeff Lowenfel’s web site to get some more information about who he is. I could not find information on Wayne Lewis on the Internet, but on the back flap of the cover, he is described as a lifelong Alaskan gardener who has worked with Jeff on various projects over the past 20 years, including the national Plant a Row for the Hungry program, which Jeff started in Alaska. Check the media guide for the book for more information on Jeff.

And I found Jeff’s lecture notes for gardening with the soil food web, which might be a helpful refresher if you read the book or a glimpse of what the book is all about if you didn’t read it. Once you get to his lecture notes, there are many more links to various web sites with information about the soil food web and composting. But don’t get too lost in those links, because you want to have time to read all the posts from the book club members.

And here are those links!

Kathy has two posts. Her original review and a follow up to clarify some of her thoughts.

Tyler joined us for the first time with this post from his Chicago garden.

Colleen will be teaming with microbes as well with her review.

Old Roses also read the book and provided a review.

Bill did not have a chance to read the book, but wrote about another book related to compost and soil.

Jenn also did not have a chance to get the book, but wrote about two soil-related books she has in her library.

Annie didn’t think she would have time to read and write about the book, but did include a lot of compost info in another post on her blog.

Phillip, a real soil scientist, is also a first time participant in the book club, and wrote about the book, which he had just received.

I also wrote about the book and previously wrote a story about finding something in my compost which is an old post that might be interesting to those who have just recently been reading my blog.

El stayed up late last night to post her review; she just got the book last Thursday!

Tracy provided a nice rundown of what she learned from the book, a good synopsis for those who haven’t yet read the book.

And I was sort of expecting a review from Genie, but haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll include her pre-post about reading the book. *Update* Genie's post is now live on her blog

The other interesting thing about choosing this book is that this is the first time we’ve heard from the author of the book we selected, either via comment or email to some. (I know it helps to choose a book by someone who is still living!) I assume he’ll find and read this post, too. At least I hope he does because we’ve given him great insight into what “regular gardeners” like and don’t like about this book.

Thank you to all who participated, some for the third time, others for the first time! I hope you enjoyed all the reviews and comments from the book club members. Remember that any and all are welcome to participate, so if you were intending to post something on your blog, but just didn’t get around to it, please post anytime, let me know about your post via a comment or the email address on the sidebar, and I’ll add you to this post.

Note Feb. 12th... Gloria has now posted her review of the book.


  1. Hi Carol, yes we are having a great time with the super bowl festivities and yes we are rooting for the Colts after all the Dolphins and Colts are in the AFC and all the locals want to see Payton get his ring and not be like Dan Marino that never did.

  2. Hi Carol!

    You're right...a post was coming from me, but I was behind schedule this month! My post is live now, and thanks for including my pre-post!

    The Inadvertent Gardener

  3. Carol, I want to say how much I appreciate that you took this task on this winter. It gives me something to look forward to and makes me feel like part of a group, even though I'm out in the middle of nowhere!

  4. Hello Carol

    Well done! I think this book was useful, and I think it is very interesting that one of the authors is keen on helping out us lowly gardeners.

    But the Colts? You're going to need help on Sunday! Hwahwahwahwa!!

  5. I just went to Lowenfels website and read the three newspaper articles about him. Wow! Imagine carrying a bullet in your neck for the rest of your life. His comment on my blog was very gracious. I couldn't believe what a good sport he was. And I see I was confirmed in my feeling he was a zealot.

  6. Carol - Once again, you've done a wonderful job! The winter of 2006/2007 is a lot more interesting because of the Garden Blogger's Book Club - thank you.

  7. Mmmm. Dirt cake. You sure know how to through a party!

  8. I am really impressed with what you are doing with this blog. I haven't read this book, but I think I will try to find it.

  9. All... thank you for the kind comments! I enjoy moderating the book club and hope you'll join me in February and bring a friend!

  10. The Renegade Gardener recommends this book. His review is here:

  11. Sorry I missed the deadline. I did read 'Teaming with Microbes'but was unable to post until now if anyone is interested.


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