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Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally Paperback – March 30, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly-
Kourik's color photos and Massion's art effectively illustrate a text that fulfills the title's promise. The author's advice is sound and practical although the reader may bridle at his tone at times. (Attempting a chatty informality, for example, he orders one to "find a comfortable chair and leaf through the book.") Otherwise, this is a valuable guide to the holistic approach to gardening, which relies on natural fertilizers and avoids chemicals. The author begins with suggestions for designing plots according to environment, space available, personal preferences. (The pictures prove that areas featuring vegetables, herbs, fruit- and nut-bearing trees and other edibles can be beautiful.) Kourik, who frequently appears on TV and lectures nationally, includes recipes that use the wide variety of foods featured here.

About the Author

Robert Kourik began his career in organic landscape maintenance in 1974. Over the next four decades, he honed his horticulture-related skills by working with clients throughout the US, and has since written fourteen books on the creation of sustainable homes and gardens.

His book Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape―Naturally, originally written in 1986, has become a classic in its field, defining the genera of gardening now known as “edible landscaping,” and focusing on organic, natural, sustainable, integrated systems.

His extensive thirty-five-year-old ornamental/herbal drought- and deer-resistant garden and orchard have never been watered.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856230260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856230261
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By ConstanceB on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
One of my most-used books; I'm buying this copy for a wedding. Two negatives -- The cost is high, and even as I wish for more color photographs, I ponder how much the price would rise with them. Also, as a new gardener, I struggled with five-syllable foreign terms and phrases. But he compensates well. After "an inoculant called rhizobium that colonizes the roots of leguminous plants", he says, "Pull up some bean plants. If you can see small pinkish white nodules on the roots" then it's okay. (p. 125)

The range of material is wide yet thorough. Can I grow peaches where I live? He compares 10 varieties, with limitations and virtues. He suggests alternate reading for each subject, and offers a capsule review (e.g., "A good one to browse in the library; only serious tree crops enthusiasts need own it." p. 219). The appendix seems all-encompassing to me, with an expansive index, recommended magazines and supportive organizations, mail order suppliers, & real recipes like "Chayote Parmigiana", with text on everything you'd EVER want to know about growing chayote for the dish, including Effort. (p. 300, 301)

Rosalind Creasy broke ground (ha!) promoting edibles in the landscape, and Kourik credits her. Her book has not been updated, however; this book remains timely.
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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By M. Andrews on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am an experienced gardener but I never fail to learn something new when I pick up this book. I have had my copy for over fifteen years but still find the information current. This book is a must for anyone who has every wanted to grow an edible garden. From cover crops to choosing apple tree varieties it's packed full of information. I only wish the author would write another similar book so I could buy it. I own most of the books written about edible landscaping and can say this is by far the best.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Anne on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This insightful and instructive book is full of surprising information--it's incredibly useful. Understanding how roots grow is key to successful gardening, and a lot of what I thought I knew about them (such as that most of a tree's roots lie below its canopy) was wrong. Kourik debunks a lot of myths, and his clear, easy to read text is loaded with interesting bits of information on growing all sorts of plants. This book is a valuable addition to my library, and I'll consult it often. I'm a lifelong gardener, and I learned a lot!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive, by Robert Kourik.

A good introductory book to the growth of tree, shrub, and plant roots. Has some material on other things that grow in the soil that interact with roots, and some basic soil science, including a brief chapter on fungus and symbiotic relationships. There are sections on vegetables, shrubs, and trees, how their roots grow and differ, with good planting and care advice. If you have other books with sections on roots, there is little new here. If not, it is a good book to start with. It has a good reference section of current books that we can actually purchase or borrow.

I have read the book, and thumbed through it several times more, and I am still not sure what the author's recommendation for changing my gardening habits to is, there does not seem to be a conclusion or summary. I think, I may be wrong, that he recommends double digging if the soil is poor or compacted, then move on to compost, mulch, and shallow tilling only.

The book is recommended by John Jevons, the "Grow Biointensive" double digging proponent, and it often mentions Ruth Stout, the no dig no work gardening advocate of thick mulching. He draws on the work of John Weaver in the 1920's and 30's, which is good, as Weaver's books are not readily available.

All in all a good book, easy to read presented with a dry sense of humor, solid information, a book I may go back to read again for inspiration, and a bit of reference.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just got the book a week back and I am still reading it. I had to write this review because of the number of stars this book got. It is unfair since only 2 persons have reviewed it. Yes, this book is a little technical, but nothing that a lay person cannot understand. Actually, that is the reason I got this book for. I wanted facts and not stories. I have been reading about permaculture for a while now. I had so many unanswered questions. The minute I read preview pages on Google books, I bought it without the usual second thoughts I get. I am still learning a lot. I liked the section on companion planting and decided not to buy a book on it. Instead I just ordered his book on drip irrigation. I didn't get any color photos in my book. I found I had to download it from his web site. But I don't care much for somebody's landscape photos because I will design my own :) This book has a section on roots too. I also bought his other book on roots as I found it hard to design without knowing what happens underneath. If you are in doubt about buying this book, read the preview to see if this is for you.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Baer on April 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Roots Demystified" is a great read, which you wouldn't expect from a gardening/horticultural book about roots. Kourik gives amazing information that I'd never heard before, lining up his drawings with the facts about how roots feed the tree. I've already changed my method of watering and feeding a tree further from the root to make these roots spread out wider. There are many personal touches that make the book fun to read. I highly recommend. Barbara Baer, Forestville CA
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