In Sustainable Food Gardens, Robert Kourik steers away from the mundane and repetitive statements found in so many gardening books. Recognizing that sustainable gardening means different things to different people, he offers sound advice that’s backed by recent research, thus allowing gardeners to figure out their own best practices. Covering everything from root vegetables and flowers to complete fruit orchards, Robert’s practical solutions to common garden problems are accompanied by detailed charts, graphs, and illustrations based on science, but presented in ways that are useful to the lay gardener.
His discussions of soil, fertilizers, companion planting, container gardening, and insects are some of the most complete I’ve read. His final chapter significantly points out the importance of the garden as both productive and playful, fun and enjoyable rather than just a tedious chore. This book will find a prominent place in the libraries of many sustainable gardeners.— Jere Gettle, founder and owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Robert Kourik has spent his lifetime accumulating agricultural and horticultural data, but that’s not what’s most important about his new book. In it, he synthesizes the data into a deep understanding of how and why plants thrive, soil gains fertility, and ecosystems strengthen. This is not “book learning,” this is an epiphany about the health of nature and the nature of health. His insights will make us all better gardeners and farmers. —Jeff Cox, Author of many books on organic food, wine, and gardening; contributing editor of Horticulture magazine.
Sustainable Food Gardens is required reading for anyone wishing to grow edibles while conserving resources, caring for the soil, and using organic methods—in other words, sustainably. If you're a novice, this book will explain everything you need to know. If you're a practicing permaculturist, it will make you question what you thought you knew! With his science-based approach, Robert Kourik busts myths that have been part of sustainable-gardening dogma for years. —Amy Campion Co-author of Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowner's Guide.
If “Gardening Techniques” were a high-school debate topic, I’d want Robert Kourik on my team—he can argue effectively on the pros and cons of anything you’re doing in your garden.
In his latest book, Sustainable Food Gardens, Robert looks at long-held, tried-and-true landscaping practices, defending those techniques while at the same time pointing out their flaws: mulching (a few inches is good; more than that may cause problems); raised-bed gardening (boxes are good for root development, bad for aesthetics); drip irrigation (your intentions are good, but you’re probably using it wrong).
Robert even weighs in on the proper size, shape and weight of your shovel (apparently, many of us are still using the kind that’s better suited for coal- mining). And, he may be the first gardener to tell you aphids don’t suck (they just pierce a plant part, and the plant juices stream into their mouths. And you’re helping them get that easy meal by over-fertilizing).
Sustainable Food Gardens is the one-volume compilation of Robert’s best thoughts and ideas from all his previous books…If you find yourself scratching your head about how to proceed with future garden tasks, keep in mind what I’ve learned from Robert’s books and newsletters over the years: “Everything You Know is Wrong”; and, “If It Works For You, Fine. But Keep An Open Mind.”
After poring through all 400+ pages of this book, you may need a drink. Robert comes through again, with a unique recipe for “Lavenchello” - a concoction of vodka, lemons…and lavender.—Fred Hoffman, producer/host, “Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” podcast.
Sustainable Food Gardens combines science with hands-on experience and an inquiring mind, from the guy who virtually invented the term “edible landscape” 40 years ago. Robert Kourik will give you no dogma, but may surprise you with the dogma he debunks in the recent history of well meaning but unsubstantiated food-garden fads. This bookshould be a classic reference on all aspects of sustainable food gardening, from biochar to parabolic windbreaks, cisterns to soil structure. It’s going to be my “go-to” reference for science-based, sustainable garden practices. — Saxon Holt, photographer and blogger.
Count on Robert Kourik to bring objectivity, clarity, good science, and lively readability to the complex and ever-changing world of horticulture. In Sustainable Food Gardens, Robert has gathered up an immense treasury of information and presented it with his usual zest and humor. Highly recommended.— Owen Dell, RLA, ASLA, Landscape Architect, Author, Educator author of Sustainable Gardening for Dummies.
Your new book is tremendous, a great summation of your work. I’ve written a foreword, which I’m attaching to this message. I think every gardener should read this book, and I hope I've made that clear. Congratulations! —Tom Christopher, Growing Greener Podcast.