SG529 Robert Kourik Understanding Roots

SG529 Understanding Roots with Robert Kourik (audio version available)

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Robert Kourik Understanding Roots 6ftmama Still Growing Gardening PodcastIn this week’s special double-length episode of Still Growing (SG529), Robert Kourik, the author of 15 gardening books including Understanding Roots: Discover How to Make Your Garden Flourish. Imagine if you could go out into your garden and see what is going on below ground. There is a hidden world of roots many of us don’t every really think about – but Robert Kourik has been thoughtfully researching roots for well over a decade.

In today’s show, Robert gives us an in-depth look at how his books on roots not only change our understanding of how roots grow and function below ground, but also lead to better gardening practices above ground – which makes for healthier and more productive plants.  You’re about to realize that when you look at your garden, what you’re actually seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Understanding Roots with Robert Kourik 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast


It was a total thrill for me to chat with Robert Kourik; a pioneer in the areas of Permiculture, Drip Irrigation, Edible Landscaping, Pruning, and Understanding Roots. You’ll find plenty of information, inspiration, and specific steps you can take to better care for your trees and plants by Understanding Roots – in today’s show!

Show Highlights:

  • Meet Robert Kourik (9:30)

  • Dr. John Ernest Weaver’s Root Maps (16:30)
Robert Kourik Understanding Roots John Weaver Root Mapping Carrot Root 7 Feet Deep 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

The Root Map of a Carrot – with roots extending downward as far as 7 feet.


“I was completely blown away because the roots were so much wider than the plant.

When you have a single lettuce plant and the roots are four feet wide and up to three feet deep, you have to rethink what you’re doing – especially with raised beds.”

– Robert Kourik, Understanding Roots

  • Raised Beds (17:35)

“I recommend two-foot tall raised beds now.”

– Robert Kourik, Understanding Roots

Root Map Understanding Roots Robert Kourik 6ftmama blog Still Growing Gardening Podcast

  • Robert Kourik’s Inspration: Dr. John Weaver (19:20)

“Nature is an open book for those who care to read. Each grass-covered hillside is a page on which is written the history of the past, conditions of the present, and the predictions of the future.”

– Dr. John Ernest Weaver

John Weaver in the trenches 6ftmama blog still growing podcast


Dr. John Earnest Weaver 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • Excavating Roots for Root Mapping (24:50)


Dr. John Weaver excavating-roots 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • The Secret Life of Roots at the US Botanic Garden (37:10)

US Botanical Garden The Secret Life of Roots 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

Secret Life of Roots US Botanic Garden 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • Understanding Roots (40:20)

“The student of plant production should have a vivid, mental picture of the plant as a whole. It is just as much of a biological unit as is an animal. The animal is visible as an entity and behaves as one. If any part is injured, reactions and disturbance of the whole organism are expected. But in the plant, our mental conception is blurred by the fact that one of the most important structures is underground.”

– Dr. John Ernest Weaver

  • Common Root Myths Debunked by Robert Kourik (46:20)

Understanding Roots Snow Fence does not Protect Trees 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • Aerobic Layers of Soil (58:30)

  Kristy and Erin with Senator Amy Klobuchar & WCCO’s Don Shelby

Aerobic Layers of Soil Robert Kourik 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • The Robert Kourik Model for Tree Planting (1:00:00)



  • Listener Questions (1:04:00)



  • Robert Kourik on Lavender (1:12:10)

Lavender Book by Robert Kourik 6ftmama blog Still Growing Podcast

  • Grey Water Overview (1:15:20)
  • Robert’s Video on Selecting Bare Root Trees (1:19:00)

Connect with Robert Kourik:

Mentioned on the Show:

Extras: Tall Tales with my Little Giants

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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