Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book notes: Teaming with Microbes

Good morning,

Working in a bookstore, I get to see all sorts of books that I never get a chance to read! Living near a library, same thing. I live with the illusion that skimming the inside and back covers, reading introductions and last chapters, and looking at illustrations will somehow be better than nothing ... since I find it so difficult to sit down and concentrate on any one book through several chapters these days.

Things run across lately include:

Teaming with Microbes: the organic Gardeners' Guide to the Soil Food Web (revised edition) by Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis. Timber Press, 2010. This must be an actual text book. And just the photographs are fascinating. I'm just at the level of being able to spell mycorrhizal fungi, an entity that lives at the interface between plant roots and soil and somehow helps to ... do something important. The pictures are fascinating.

and ... this reminds me that just yesterday I pulled out some Eclipta plants and the roots were covered with funny green 'stuff', which we determined to be aphids! And my husband went online and discovered that they had been put there by ants so that the ants could harvest the "honeydew" they created and eat that. One of the roots did have an ant clinging to it as well.
Chris told me that after a few hours the aphids, which at first seemed too soft-bodied for aphids (and was why we weren't sure what they were) got a bit harder after being in the sunlight outside, and then all took off! Escape from prison. this was a really weird discovery!

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