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

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Kourick's book is without a doubt fantastic, but I am extremely disappointed with the Chelsea Green reprint. The color plates from the original addition can only be found online, and the text is squished up against the binding which makes for an awkward read. This book should have been reprinted true to its original form. Thanks for nothing Chelsea Green. I want my money back.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Kourik has assembled a wealth of information in this book. Without question it is an invaluable reference work. I would have given it 4 stars had the information been presented in a more reader-friendly manner with clearer demarcation of different sections, larger font, clearer photographs and diagrams, and a logical numbering sequence for chapters. And it would have been worthy of 5 stars if Kourik could have refrained from giving his opinion, often presented as 'fact', at annoyingly frequent intervals in the text.

The list of references/further reading is impressive but marred by needless repetition. The book 'Feed the Soil' is mentioned in the chapter bibliographies at least three times, each time with Kourik's peevish comment that he "dislikes the opening dialogue between rabbits and a worm". OK I think we got that bit Robert, we can move on now.

With some careful editing (and pruning out of one third of the text) a really fine book could have been created. And maybe no harm to add metric measures to the 'liquid measures conversions' at the end of the book. Even in the US, the metric system has been used by the scientific community for over half a century, and in the most of the rest of the world, terms like quart and bushel, long in disuse, will leave people scratching their heads.

In spite of those criticisms, this is a good book to add to your library. But get it second-hand.
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Format: Paperback
This book is supposed to be Roots Demystified: Changing Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive, but much of the info on this page is about another of Kourik's books: on Edible Landscaping. I hope they get this corrected very soon. Kourik's new book on Roots is amazing and very valuable - let's hope Amazon can get it right! Meanwhile, google the authors name and the book title and find it on his web site. UPDATE - amazon finally got it fixed, but the author's web site is a better place to buy this. Cheaper and benefits independent writers.
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