Robert Kourik, with enthusiasm and much gardening experience, amazes us with his love and knowledge of root systems of food and landscaping plants, with many practical tips for gardeners.
Kourik is not an academician; he has, however, many years of practical experience in edible landscaping. His book focuses on organic, natural, sustainable, integrated systems, permaculture and appropriate horticulture methods with advice on mulching, no-till growing, sheet composting and drip irrigation.
Kourik begins with a good explanation of how roots grow. The longest chapter deals with each of the main food crops in the home garden, starting with drawings of the roots systems of each crop followed with practical tips on how to grow the crop. For example, cauliflower and cabbage develop a huge shallow roots system when they are first planted and benefit from hand weeding or shallow cultivation at that time.
About half of the book’s content is devoted to lawn care, trees and shrubs for the home garden with appendices of shrubs and trees.
After reading his book, I think about the roots systems of my crops as I plant, cultivate and irrigate. I’m allowing more space between plants, fertilizing whole beds rather than just rows, cultivating with care and awareness of root systems, and irrigating for a large spread of the plants’ roots.