The video above contains information gathered from the works of Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis in their book: Teeming With Microbes and/or Joseph Smillie & Grace Gershuny in their book: The Soul of Soil

NOTE: You will want to make sure your shovel is clean and does not have rust on it for the best results.


Extra Resources

Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply Soil Testing Information

Order your soil analysis test here:

NPK Soil Analysis (with free PDF booklet)
Complete Soil Analysis (with free PDF booklet)

For more information on ordering your soil test call or email:

Phone: (888) 784-1722 Mon-Sat 8:30-5:00 PST

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition

The 2011 Garden Writers of America Gold Award for Best Writing/Book proves soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life -- not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web -- the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants. By eschewing jargon and overly technical language, the authors make the benefits of cultivating the soil food web available to a wide audience, from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals.

The Soul of Soil - $25.00

The soil is the soul of the garden. This book provides sensible, focused, and passionate information for creating and preserving healthy soil. A must for all serious gardeners.

Suggested Reading

For a deeper look into this module read the following:

Four Season Harvest: p. 43-45

The New Organic Grower: p. 68-81; 111-118

Join the Discussion


  • Jan Johnson

    Reply Reply November 5, 2015

    I am a total newbie to gardening. I have sent off for my soil test and hope to start gardening in the spring. I have to tame my “I want it now” anticipation and am listening to the courses but each one makes me “want it now” even more. I have to remind myself that patience is one of God’s gifts to us and I need to use it. This is going to be so much fun.

  • John Quint

    Reply Reply July 4, 2018

    I just received the results of my soil sample analysis, and am looking forward to enriching my soil as much as possible, especially for next year. I have six 4×8 raised beds, but the sample was taken from the mostly unused portion, not the beds. Do you have any tips on deciphering the results? My questions will be more specific as I attempt to decipher this. Thanks.

    • Paul

      Reply Reply July 4, 2018

      Hi John – great question and congrats on your soil test! In the next lesson (analyzing and amending your soil) we walk you step-by-step through understanding your test and how to decipher it.

      Depending on what you put in the raised beds you may want to amend them differently. If they are filled with soil from the same place you did the test from then you’ll want to amend them in the same way. Otherwise a general overall fertilizer that is really good is Down to Earth Vegan Mix which would be excellent for raised beds. You can get it in larger quantities directly on Amazon.

* Denotes Required Field