Chelsea Green Publishing

Understanding Roots

Pages:225 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations, figures, and charts
Size: 8.5 x 11 inch
Publisher:Metamorphic Press
Paperback: 9780961584863
Pub. Date August 24, 2015

Understanding Roots

Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish

Categories:
Gardening

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 24, 2015

$24.95

Award-Winner in the "Home & Garden” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Understanding Roots uncovers one of the greatest mysteries underground—the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet.

Roots, it seems, do more than just keep a plant from falling over: they gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds, and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns, and woodlands.

Understanding Roots contains over 115 enchanting and revealing root drawings that most people have never seen, from prairies, grasslands, and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut, and ornamental tree roots. Every root system presented in this book was drawn by people literally working in the trenches, sketching the roots where they grew.

The text provides a verydetailed review of all aspects of transplanting; describes how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients; investigates the hidden life of soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots; explores the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots; shares the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association; shows you exactly where to put your fertilizer, compost, water, and mulch to help plants flourish; tells you why gray water increases crop yields more than fresh water; and, most importantly, reveals the science behind all the above (with citations for each scientific paper).

This book contains at least eighty percent more new information, more results of the latest in-depth and up-to-date explorations, and even more helpful guidelines on roots than the author’s previous book (Roots Demystified: Change Your Garden Habits to Help Roots Thrive). This is not a revised edition—it’s a whole new stand-alone book.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“I realize now that I’ve been waiting my whole life to read this book. Robert Kourik makes a major contribution to the science of horticulture and to plant lovers everywhere with Understanding Roots. This book gives us an understanding of the whole plant, and that can only make us better gardeners.”--Jeff Cox, former managing editor of Organic Gardening magazine and the author of twenty books on gardening, landscaping, food, and wine

"Wow - what a MINDBLOWING book! I love what you have done and you have made me a better gardener! This is some seriously juicy stuff you have here! With Understanding Roots you have some seriously powerful information in your hands right now!"--Ivette Soler, author of The Edible Front Yard, free-lance author and garden designer

"Understanding Roots changed how I think about plants. Much more is going on below ground than we ever imagined, as this book—and particularly its magnificent root diagrams—shows. Robert Kourik brings us up to date with current research and shares his decades of experience in this fascinating journey into the dynamic world of the rhizosphere. Gardeners, farmers, and researchers all will profit from this readable, detailed guide to how plants make their living in the soil."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and The Permaculture City

"As is typical of Robert Kourik’s books, he distills complex research to give home gardeners both a great read and the knowledge needed to successfully pick out, plant and grow trees and shrubs in their gardens. Kourik, using diagrams of the actual root systems, takes us on a fascinating underground tour. He explains how and why understanding root growth and soil type greatly influences where and how to apply, water, mulch and fertilizer."--Sam Benowitz, Owner, Raintree Nursery

“Roots are the controlling part of the plant, and we get the best results when we know more about them! Robert Kourik in Understanding Roots makes this possible—with almost double the information as in his previous book on roots. It has been noted that when we improve root health a tiny amount—just two percent to four percent—it is possible to increase yields two hundred percent to four hundred percent. Understanding Roots contains a wealth of information. It is a rare treasure!”--John Jeavons, author and developer of Sustainable Biologically Intensive Food-Growing, Willits, CA

“Fascinating, beautifully illustrated and fun to read!”--Larry Korn, editor of Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert

"A must have book in your library! Robert has always been able to make scientific fact and jargon readable, if not entertaining. Understanding Roots is no exception. Having found many rare drawings of excavated roots he presents many guidelines about how to place compost, mulch, fertilizer and water to make your garden thrive."--Rosalind Creasy, author of Edible Landscaping and 17 other gardening and cooking books

“Sometimes in gardening, it’s what you don’t see that counts. So, unless you have x-ray vision, let the very knowledgeable Robert Kourik help you visualize—and improve—the root of the situation.”--Mike McGrath, host of Public Radio’s You Bet Your Garden and garden editor for WTOP in Washington, DC

“Over the decades, author/researcher/contradictarian Robert Kourik has turned gardeners and farmers inside out with his scientific yet easily accessible books, including Understanding Roots: Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish. You will have several ‘Whoa, I didn’t realize that!’ moments. This is an important book that will change the way you look at your plants, your soil, your fertilizers, and, especially, your watering habits.”--Fred Hoffman, producer/host, Get Growing with Farmer Fred radio shows, Sacramento, CA

“Kourik does it again as he shares his investigations into what makes plants tick (hint, it’s subterranean).”--Ken Druse, radio host and author and photographer of twenty gardening books

Midwest Book Review-

Synopsis: "Understanding Roots: Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish" uncovers one of the greatest mysteries underground -- the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet. Roots, it seems, do more than just keep a plant from falling over: they gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds, and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns, and woodlands.

"Understanding Roots" contains over 115 enchanting and revealing root drawings that most people have never seen, from prairies, grasslands, and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut, and ornamental tree roots. Every root system presented in this book was drawn by people literally working in the trenches, sketching the roots where they grew.

The text provides a very detailed review of all aspects of transplanting; describes how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients; investigates the hidden life of soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots; explores the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots; shares the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association; shows you exactly where to put your fertilizer, compost, water, and mulch to help plants flourish; tells you why gray water increases crop yields more than fresh water; and, most importantly, reveals the science behind all the above (with citations for each scientific paper).

Critique: Exceptionally well informed and informative, "Understanding Roots: Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish" is a compendium of thoroughly accessible, nicely illustrated, practical and directly applicable information that will prove invaluable for amateur and professional gardeners alike, and should be a part of every community and academic library Gardening reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Kourik

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.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates,  2nd Edition

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition

By Robert Kourik

Drip irrigation is the best way to help any plant flourish and survive tough times, especially short or long droughts. Pick the wrong "stuff " and you easily can feel overwhelmed. Robert Kourik's Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates clearly explains how to use less water yet increase the yields of vegetables and promote the growth and flowering of all plants--trees, shrubs, and container plants--in any climate, even where it rains irregularly.

In the tradition of the original groundbreaking book, this fully revised edition incorporates new information essential for gardeners, including how to manage limited water supplies with precision and efficiency, without the clutter of hundreds of widgets and gizmos, and the knowledge is shared in Kourik's inimitable, friendly, down-to-earth, and easy-to-understand style.

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates,reveals how to:

    • Utilize drip irrigation for everything you grow--trees, shrubs, hanging plants, container plants, and vegetable and flower gardens --and save up to 50 percent of your water compared to sprinklers.
    • Use a streamlined configuration of hardware and tubing.
    • Choose the best, sturdiest hardware that will last for decades in your home landscape and vegetable garden.
    • Pick tubing that has no emitters punched on the outside--these have a tendency to break off--and use this tubing buried beneath the surface to irrigate without losing any water to wind or evaporation.
    • Roll out a drip system in a very short period of time, avoiding tedious hours punching in emitters or adding smaller tubing to reach each plant.
    • Capture and reuse gray water and cistern water for irrigation.
    • Construct a system in which the main parts are effectively hidden or can be simply attached to an existing garden faucet.
    • Individual projects are carefully detailed and include: how anyone can construct a system by attaching it to an existing garden faucet or the main water supply, constructing larger assemblies for big gardens, irrigating all sizes of potted plants, easy ways to irrigate a vegetable garden, and how to lay out tubing for the best health of trees and shrubs.




Available in: Paperback

Read More

Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition

Robert Kourik

Paperback $24.95

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally

By Robert Kourik

First published in 1986, this classic is back in print by popular demand. It is the authoritative text on edible landscaping, featuring a step-by-step guide to designing a productive environment using vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs for a combination of ornamental and culinary purposes.

It includes descriptions of plants for all temperate habitats, methods for improving soil, tree pruning styles, and gourmet recipes using low-maintenance plants. There are sections on attracting beneficial insects with companion plants and using planting to shelter your home from erosion, heat, wind, and cold.

You can download the color insert here >> 

 

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally

Robert Kourik, Mark Kane, Rosalind Creasy, Maia Massion

Paperback $49.95

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

By Carol Deppe

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening explores the practical methods as well as the deeper essence of gardening. In her latest book, groundbreaking garden writer Carol Deppe The Resilient Gardener, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties focuses on some of the most popular home garden vegetables—tomatoes, green beans, peas, and leafy greens—and through them illustrates the key principles and practices that gardeners need to know to successfully plant and grow just about any food crop.

Deppe's work has long been inspired and informed by the philosophy and wisdom of Tao Te Ching, the 2,500-­year-­old work attributed to Chinese sage Lao Tzu and the most translated book in the world after the Bible. The Tao of Vegetable Gardening is organized into chapters that echo fundamental Taoist concepts: Balance, Flexibility, Honoring the Essential Nature (your own and that of your plants), Effortless Effort, Non-Doing, and even Non-­Knowing. Yet the book also offers a wealth of specific and valuable garden advice on topics as diverse as:

  • The Eat­-All Greens Garden, a labor­ and space­-efficient way to provide all the greens a family can eat, freeze, and dry—all on a tiny piece of land suitable for small­-scale and urban gardeners.
  • The growing problem of late blight and the future of heirloom tomatoes—and what gardeners can do to avoid problems, and even create new resistant varieties.
  • Establishing a Do­-It-­Yourself Seed Bank, including information on preparing seeds for long­-term storage and how to "dehybridize" hybrids.
  • Twenty-­four good places to not plant a tree, and thirty­-seven good reasons for not planting various vegetables.

Designed for gardeners of all levels, from beginners to experienced growers, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening provides a unique frame of reference: a window to the world of nature, in the garden and in ourselves.

Sample Pictures Slide Show

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

Carol Deppe

Paperback $24.95

Food Not Lawns

Food Not Lawns

By Heather Jo Flores

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution—it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens."

But Food Not Lawns doesn't begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant "guerilla gardens" in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Food Not Lawns

Heather Jo Flores, Toby Hemenway

Paperback $25.00

Edible Perennial Gardening

Edible Perennial Gardening

By Anni Kelsey

Do you dream of a low-maintenance perennial garden that is full to the brim of perennial vegetables that you don’t have to keep replanting, but have only a small space? Do you want a garden that doesn’t take much of your time and that needs little attention to control the pests and diseases that eat your crops? Do you want to grow unusual vegetable varieties? You can have all of this with Edible Perennial Gardening.

Anni Kelsey has meticulously researched the little-known subject of edible perennials and selected her favorite, tasty varieties. She explains how to source and propagate different vegetables, which plants work well together in polycultures, and what you can plant in small, shady, or semi shady beds, as well as in sunny areas. It includes:

 • Getting started and basic principles

• Permaculture, forest gardening, and natural farming

• Growing in polycultures

• How to chose suitable leafy greens, alliums, roots, tubers, and herbs

• Site selection and preparation

• Building fertility

• Low-maintenance management strategies

If you long for a forest garden but simply don’t have the space for tree crops, or want to grow a low-maintenance edible polyculture, this book will explain everything you need to know to get started on a new gardening adventure that will provide you with beauty and food for your household and save you money.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Edible Perennial Gardening

Anni Kelsey, Eric Toensmeier

Paperback $22.95

The Resilient Gardener

The Resilient Gardener

By Carol Deppe

Scientist/gardener Carol Deppe combines her passion for organic gardening with newly emerging scientific information from many fields — resilience science, climatology, climate change, ecology, anthropology, paleontology, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health, and medicine. In the last half of The Resilient Gardener, Deppe extends and illustrates these principles with detailed information about growing and using five key crops: potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs.

In this book you’ll learn how to:

•Garden in an era of unpredictable weather and climate change

•Grow, store, and use more of your own staple crops

•Garden efficiently and comfortably (even if you have a bad back)

•Grow, store, and cook different varieties of potatoes and save your own potato seed

•Grow the right varieties of corn to make your own gourmet-quality fast-cooking polenta, cornbread, parched corn, corn cakes, pancakes and even savory corn gravy

•Make whole-grain, corn-based breads and cakes using the author’s original gluten-free recipes involving no other grains, artificial binders, or dairy products

•Grow and use popbeans and other grain legumes

•Grow, store, and use summer, winter, and drying squash

•Keep a home laying flock of ducks or chickens; integrate them with your gardening, and grow most of their feed.

The Resilient Gardener is both a conceptual and a hands-on organic gardening book, and is suitable for vegetable gardeners at all levels of experience. Resilience here is broadly conceived and encompasses a full range of problems, from personal hard times such as injuries, family crises, financial problems, health problems, and special dietary needs (gluten intolerance, food allergies, carbohydrate sensitivity, and a need for weight control) to serious regional and global disasters and climate change. It is a supremely optimistic as well as realistic book about how resilient gardeners and their vegetable gardens can flourish even in challenging times and help their communities to survive and thrive through everything that comes their way — from tomorrow through the next thousand years. Organic gardening, vegetable gardening, self-sufficiency, subsistence gardening, gluten-free living.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Resilient Gardener

Carol Deppe

Paperback $29.95