Friday, December 10, 2010

Book review: Teaming with Microbes

I read Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis and published by Timber Press. The first part of the book is a fascinating overview of the biology of the various goodies living in a typical teaspoon of soil. It then goes on to investigate various ways in which this understanding applies to gardening.

I hadn't heard of the distinction between bacterially dominated soils (typical of annual gardens and grasslands) and fungal dominated soils (typical of perennial plantings and forests). I am also very interested to try the techniques for measuring soil life as a way to baseline and measure progress of the development of the soil food web. The section on composting enhanced my appreciation of the biological aspects of compost as a product for inoculating soil. I am also interested in trying AACT (actively aerated compost tea).

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the magic stuff that is soil.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Sustainable" vs. "Restorative"

There is an interesting point in a TED talk I just watched:
of thinking about the difference between striving for restorative rather than merely sustainable. Still thinking through the implications....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I am wrapping up my first term of the Landscape Technology program at PCC Rock Creek Campus.

For the Deciduous Trees class we needed to put together a journal for the 101 plants covered in the course. I made a few different attempts at the format. I keep thinking that some sort of database would work better. I want something extensible and easy to update. I think I am getting a handle on all the names, and even the latin spellings are coming along with no small effort.

I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the students in the Landscape Construction class. It was fun being able to work on projects in small groups.

While I would have liked to spend more time exploring with the microscopic, the Basic Horticulture was a nice introduction to botany. I did my final paper on peach leaf curl which was a good exercise in considering the tradeoffs involved in growing peaches in this environment.

I still have a round of finals this week, but the bulk of the work is now behind me, which is a relief.