During the 1976 California drought, Robert started one of the first organic garden-maintenance businesses in the country. Taking to heart lessons administered with great enthusiasm by the School of Hard Knocks, he progressed into landscape design.
Over a 40-year period, focusing primarily on horticultural methods known variously as organic, natural, appropriate, sustainable, integrated-system and permaculture, Robert learned numerous growing, design, and maintenance skills from the inside out by working with clients throughout California and the rest of the US. He’s been sharing that knowledge in books since 1986.
Books By Robert Kourik
Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition
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.
Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally
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.
Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish
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.
Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil
In this lively and inspiring book, veteran horticulturalist Robert Kourik (aka “Bob”) unfolds his manifesto of “Inspired Laziness”—using efficiency and forethought to create gardens and landscapes with a lot less work and a lot more enjoyment.
By following Kourik’s relaxed and readable guidance, both beginning and accomplished gardeners will discover how to save time and money, enrich their soil, increase their yields, and reduce their effort, all while absorbing “Bob’s” philosophy of kicking back and growing more good times.
Drawing on over four decades of immersing himself in horticultural work (and writing about it), Robert shares his hard-won secrets for the easiest planning, planting, cultivating, landscaping, irrigating, de-pestifying, and finding enjoyment in settings ranging from window-box herbs to showy ornamental plantings to the now-classic “edible landscape.”
In Lazy-Ass Gardening, you’ll learn how to:
- Ease into gardening, if you’re a newbie.
- Figure out which edibles to raise, with a careful selection of the most care-free varieties and tips for easy growing.
- Lay out your garden to balance effective growing area with space for enjoyment, relaxation, and play.
- Cultivate creatively to grow your own nutrients and build healthy self-sustaining (no-till) soil for the future.
- Attract the best pollinating insects and deter hungry pests.
- Plan your “hardscape” (paths, patios, arbors, etc.), for an easy-care (and more fun) aspect of your yard or garden.
- Choose the right plants for your landscape, climate, soil, and water supply, not to mention your aesthetic and nutritional needs.
- Learn how to develop a personal garden that manifests your own eccentricities.
- Grow more, stress less.