‘Teaming With Microbes’ podcast: How to control the kind of nitrogen available for your plants, and why it’s important

A new weekly podcast about organic gardening with longtime Alaska garden and growing columnist Jeff Lowenfels.

Welcome to a weekly podcast with longtime Anchorage Daily News garden writer and author Jeff Lowenfels, and co-hosted by Jonathan White. Think of it as a companion to Jeff’s weekly columns and his popular series of books. Join Jeff and Jonathan as they dive deep into organic gardening and the soil food web — breaking down the science, giving expert gardening advice and busting those long-held myths about how to help your garden grow.

This episode: A plant’s exudate attracts bacteria and fungi, and they feed the plant when eaten by other soil food web members. They also build important soil structure. Bacteria and fungi attracted by the plant are, in turn, eaten by nematodes and protozoa.

Jeff Lowenfels, Jonathan White, Teaming With Microbes, podcast

All this results in production of nitrogen to feed the plant. But it turns out there are two kinds of nitrogen a plant can use: ammonium and nitrates. Some plants prefer one or the other, depending on how long the plant has been in the ground.

The show also includes special mention of the importance of applying mycorrhizal fungi this time of year and the reasons why.

[Related: Ignore the snow. Prepare now for a successful growing season.]

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Hosts: Jeff Lowenfels and Jonathan White. Produced by Evan Phillips.

This podcast is a collaboration between the hosts and Anchorage Daily News.

Feedback: teamingwithmicrobes@me.com

Read Lowenfels’ weekly columns on gardening and growing at ADN.com.

Read his books: “Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web,” “Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition,” “Teaming with Fungi: The Organic Grower’s Guide to Mycorrhizae,” among others.

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Previous episodes:

Jeff Lowenfels

Jeff Lowenfels has written a weekly gardening column for the ADN for more than 45 years. His columns won the 2022 gold medal at the Garden Communicators International conference. He is the author of a series of books on organic gardening available at Amazon and elsewhere. He co-hosts the "Teaming With Microbes" podcast.

Jonathan White

Jonathan White is the co-host, with Jeff Lowenfels, of the "Teaming with Microbes" podcast. He's an Anchorage small business owner, gardener and former journalist.