Robert Kourik

Author of Sustainable Food Gardens

A new book from Robert Kourik – Sustainable Food Gardens.

Would you like to learn how to design and manage a healthy edible landscape or “forest garden?” Do you want to learn the truth (or fiction) of many current myths about sustainability in landscape design? If so, you need this book. 

In Sustainable Food Gardening, Kourik explains how to adapt many permaculture guidelines (often based on the dynamics of tropical ecosystems) to North American temperate USDA zones. In addition, you’ll learn how to design an effective edible landscape.

Edible landscaping – good food production with a good looking landscape

To get started:  Start small and slowly expand.  Locate for easy harvest – put it out the back door.   To kill grass to make a garden area, add manure on top of grass, add a layer of cardboard, then add a layer of mulch.  Lasagne gardening.

Drip irrigation – 10 to 20% greater yields.  Can use up to 40% less water.  Moderate drip timing.  Needs 10 psi.  Tanks don’t have enough pressure.

Vegetables vs. herbs.  Thyme, rosemary – don’t need to water as often as vegetables.

Hard core organic gardener. 

Mulch can improve appearance, will suppress weeds, improves soil quality.  Weeds rob nutrients.

How dense to plant?  French Intensive Biodynamic Gardening – intensive planting yields intensive results.  Need to dig very deep, hard on the back.

Chicken tractors – wooden house with a wire covering not attached to the ground but sits on it.  Chickens scratch, dig up pests, dump their manure, till the soil with their feet, eat up the weeds. 

Want to compost chicken manure, mixing it with other brown and green material. 

Biggest mistakes?  Starting too big.  Start with 4×6’ or 8’.  Spend money up front to save money down the line.  E.g. Install 2 water bibs on opposite ends to save on dragging hoses around.

Chlorine from city water not an issue, but can let water sit in a tank and off gas.

Author of 19 books.  His newest book on Sustainable Food is 486 pages.  Buy from before 1/1/22  to get $50 price incl. shipping.  Orders before 12/10 should be delivered by Christmas.

For intensive planting, need soil up to snuff.  Lasagne gardening less demanding on soil, no deep digging required.

Wood chips don’t work.  Use Arbor Chips – shredded woody material mixed with leafy greens.  Woody chips should be at least 6 inches deep. 

Companion gardening – no science behind it.  Beneficial insects have more benefits.  Marigolds stunt the growth of other plant roots.

Do stronger plants prevent insects?  Aphids really suck.  More sap pressure from more nitrogen yields more aphids.

Soil analysis – do first, from a number of spots.  Harmony Farm Supply – soil sample through the mail, will recommend quantities of nutrients to add.  $30-$40 per test.

Drip Irrigation – DripWorks has all the parts.  Blood meal, bone meal – don’t get through mail if can be avoided.  Local chicken manure – better source.

Is Colloidal Phosphate recommended?

Want GMO free seeds.  Bakers Creek – all grown without GMOs.  Not all heirloom seeds are all good.

Wheat is great for improving soil – many small roots.  Vegan gardens in England – all soil nutrition from compost.

Horse manure – dewormers given to horses result in no worms in garden.  Can’t buy the worm that lives in the soil.  Worms that are sold are for compost pile, which yields earthworm castings.

Does refrigeration help seeds?

Easiest thing to grow – Fava beans, which fix nitrogen.  Multi-purpose uses.

'Robert Kourik – Sustainable Food Gardens – December 7, 2021' has 1 comment

  1. December 20, 2021 @ 1:22 pm Louis Laframboise

    As the important topic of mulch came up in this fabulous interview, I thought some of you might be interested in knowing about a possible source of free wood chip for mulch. It is an automated service called Chip Drop. They deliver (free) wood chips or other forestry organic material to the nearest member. Find them at


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