Roots 'n' Shoots: Roots 'n' Shoots Birthday (Blogiversary) Post #3

Why is RnS Moving to whiskerflowers.wordpress.com?

Google had brought out an algorithm update in May 2017. With previous updates like Panda or Penguin, Mr G had penalized blogs or websites with low quality content and those more focused on aggressive adverts (including multiple ads or pop-up ads in articles). However, many blogs/websites that weren't shady got penalized beyond recovery too and a lot of people lost their income. The May 2017 update has had wide-scale effect on blogs and websites, but without any explanation from Mr G as to why or what it does. RnS has been hit by it too and hard. RnS organic search stats (i.e. users from Google) have dropped by 75% since. Even though RnS is not a source of income, I tried to figure out why RnS is being culled. It seems that it doesn't really have anything to do with RnS per se, but likely because RnS is FREE and not paying for page ranking (via AdWords or Ad Ranking). Now it is likely being aggressively shoved to lower page rankings to accommodate the paid ads.

I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. And so I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @ whiskerflowers.wordpress.com I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom -

Monday, 18 August 2014

Roots 'n' Shoots Birthday (Blogiversary) Post #3



It has been three years since the start of Roots 'n' Shoots in August 2011 - WOW - that is about as long as a undergraduate degree in Science or longer than most peoples' relationships ... LOL! Anyways, this is the annual B-day post (apparently a blog's birthday is a blogiversary! At least B-day works either way!). This is a post where I allow myself to go off on a tangent, write about crazy unrelated stuff and if it ends up being an entire post without anything informative, then... *meh*

First off I would like to send a shout-out to Blooming Blogs! I love the new magazine format for blog display and that it updates automatically when I post - very convenient which means I can spend more time on post writing than updating third-party sites :)  Also Blooming Blogs has helped Roots 'n' Shoots grow a lot more than my first sign-up to a social garden site, Blotanical.

I have booted Blotanical from my site since they had decided to abandon their users and not respond to their problems - for instance - Google feedburner stopped working for my blog back in 2012 (as it did for most other Blogs as well). I did not notice until 6 months later when my Blotanical profile wasn't updating. I tried all kinds of ways to re-activate my account there (becuz they shut you down after 3 months if no posts update) but to no avail... I emailed Blotanical sometime last year (exactly on 28 June 2013!) and they did not respond. So after 6 months of not replying I removed them from Roots 'n' Shoots considering that they have forgotten to care about their members, who are the foundations of any blog or website! I have had more visitors and support from Blooming Blogs than Blotanical ever did! Thanx Blooming Blogs!

Tiny time capsules
Rose moss seeds

OK, so that is off my chest, now second rant - or not really a rant, more like an observation. Many other gardening blogs become ghosts round about their 3-4 year mark, mostly due to their writers suffering from what is known as "Blogger Burnout". I have seen this happen to gardening blog the same age as mine! Blogger Burnout occurs when blogging is no longer a source of relaxation or entertainment and merely becomes another chore on your to-do list. This is quite sad as most of these writers never take up their blogs again, and those who rarely do find that by that time they return to their blogs that all of their readers have left as well... I really do feel for these fellow bloggers, since maintaining a blog is a lot of work;

(1) decide on what to write about [this is not always readily apparent!],
(2) research, research and more research,
(3) get some good quality, free photos or diagrams [Hah! As if!] - else take/make your own,
(4) *wait for screen loading*
(5) write the post,
(6) edit the post [fix all those blatantly obvious grammar/spelling errors you missed the first time],
(7) get the pictures in the correct format and size [this can be the most time robbing stage, but it needs to be done and I will stay strong!],
(8) upload pictures,
(9) *more loading* - *sigh*
(10) add any attributions or references,
(11) double check links and
(12) publish! [Woo-pee! Made it! Now over-zealously check blog every 5 minutes to see who is reading the new material by hitting the refresh button multiple times]...  ;-P

Here is my hypothesis to the cause of Blogger Burnout: blogging too much!!! Yes, you won't think that it is a bad thing to do so many posts as it generates traffic to your blog, but posting too often leads to writer fatigue, inspiration loss and de-motivation... and sadly the associated blog becomes a ghost...

This is one of the reasons why Roots 'n' Shoots features at most 2 posts every month, which is usually 1 Profile post (How to Grow) and 1 Extra post (Different Garden Topics). I am very committed to these two posts each month and additional posts do creep in when something exciting happens (such as the Earthquake earlier this month!) then it goes over the 2 post limit. The 2 post limit does not only keep me sane and prevents all my time going into blogging, but keeps me inspired and motivated to write.

Yes I have my Blogger Blues, where I find myself staring at the screen not sure where to start or what to write, but I tediously manage something informative. Then before I know it I have found my writing mo-jo and I am slamming posts out on the keyboard like no body's business! This is when I have to be well disciplined not to post them all in one go cause I think they're sooo cool, but to put them away and schedule them to come out every 2 weeks for the next few months. This means Roots 'n' Shoots is pumping out informative, well written (hopefully; seeing that I got all those blatantly obvious mistakes) and picture jammed posts while I can get on with my day job and with life in general  :) So, I am sure that my Sanity-Saving-Post-Scheduling-Method shall exile any Blogger Burnout from spoiling Roots 'n' Shoots in the future... I found a lovely post relating to the topic and agree with many of the items listed there. Hopefully Roots 'n' Shoots will also see its 10 year mark and beyond by virtue of being a Generous Blogger.

Honey bee on Garden Heliotrope

Staying with blogging; here comes the ranting section specifically about the Blogger format that Google developed but stopped improving. *Sigh* I sometimes admire at Wordpress sites or 'own' domain websites and see all the cool functionality there and I think to myself, now why did I not do that instead of a blog? Don't get me wrong - blogging, post writing and sharing my discoveries I really enjoy, but I would like my blog to be a bit more pretty and functional. For instance, I love the Wordpress layouts and themes, they always seem so professional and I have tried on various occasions to get a similar effect on Blogger - but I end up with a huge mess and colours/fonts clash the heck out of one another! So Roots 'n' Shoots has its original colour/font scheme since its initiation as this is the most eye pleasing and easy reading combination that I also like... Bah! Then there is the layout problems, especially INDEXING!!! I am OCD and fanatic about filing: Everything needs to be neatly organised and filed under topics for easy reference and time efficiency (reason why I like Pinterest!), but that 'Blog Archive' widget thing on the left hand side does not represent this in the least. It is the most un-user-friendly and tedious device ever! Go ahead, try it! Grrrr.. So my attempt at making it easier for you guys was to place the Index & Info Page at the top, which has resolved some of my filing issues as well given all the restrictions of Blogger... If any of you fellow Bloggers have come up with another solution, please share! J

Anyways, something very exiting is that my research project is more aligned with my vegetable gardening endeavours than before, which means I will be able to maximise my research for both my project and my blog - Kazam!, which means working smarter and not harder. Bwah ha ha!

I have noticed the large appreciation for my 'Sustainable, Productive and Economical Veg Garden' related blog post and shall be writing more on that topic in the near future. I want to emphasise the need to grow your vegetables economically, so that you can save money (even make money, by selling produce maybe?) by having one and that this is not an ornamental garden where heaps of money is thrown at aesthetic appeal - it is a working home unit and I will share with you how to maximise production and minimise costs in a well managed vegetable garden. Of course is should be neat, tidy and pretty, but that is all achievable on a shoestring budget and some creative savvy! (Like, did you notice my shroom rock that I painted up top? - Free garden ornaments seeing that I had the paint on hand anyways... tee hee!).

LOL!
My attempt at a Garfield inspired bird deterrent painted rock!

All in all Roots 'n' Shoots is here to stay and I am moving my gardening practices into an even more organic and sustainable direction - so, keep on dropping by for informative how-to's, creative projects and join me on my vegetable gardening journey!

BTW - I have expanded my 'social networking' (me being impaired in that area and such)... So, I have set up several accounts. Most function as news reels for blog posts and will make it easier for those of you already on those platforms to get my updates there, this would be: My Twitter Account. Others I am more active on an will include additional garden related info beyond that on Roots 'n' Shoots such as MyFolia Account and Pinterest Boards. You can also sign up directly as a follower to my blog given you already have a Google, Yahoo or Twitter account. If those don't do it for you; I have a RSS Feed with FeedCAT.net which allows email subscriptions and accommodates other feed readers. My ProjectNoah account is purely for wildlife spottings.


Please feel free to subscribe to my blog as a follower or to a feed reader/social networking site:

Direct Blog Subscription: Check out my Blog Follower or Follow Posts Your Way! widgets (left hand side at the top).
RSS Feed: Feed Reader at FeedCAT.net
Email: Use the Follow Posts Your Way! widget with FeedCAT.net email subscription (left hand side at the top).

Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/The__Shroom
Pinterest Account: http://www.pinterest.com/Roots_n_Shoots/
MyFolia Accounthttp://myfolia.com/gardener/The_Shroom
Wildlife spottings in our area: My Project Noah account @ http://www.projectnoah.org/users/The%20Shroom

Also, if you like my content I have a myriad of ways to share them (below each post or page) with your friends and family. Else you can simply 'vote' for them using the reactions supplied at the end of the posts.


A last THANK YOU to all my readers, even though many of you don't comment or follow I can see your continuous presence and support on my blog stats! I would like to make a special mention of Dani @ Eco Footprint ~ South Africa for the shout out on her blog earlier this month; it was fully appreciated, thanx! Over at Dani's you will find many ways to as well as tips and tricks on how to do off the grid living!

Thank you to all my readers once again, as I enjoy posting informative articles for your delight!


P.S: On the 24th of August is World Kitchen Garden Day! Head over to Kitchen Garden International to check out some ideas on how to celebrate this day!

World Kitchen Garden Day
© KGI.org

TTFN - Ta-Ta For Now!

The Shroom





Posts mentioned in the article:

Starting a Productive and Economical Vegetable Garden: vegetables worth growing



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If you enjoy the content please share with fellow gardening enthusiasts via the various sharing buttons at the end of posts/pages! Else you can vote for posts through the Google reactions bar at the end of articles. To stay up to date I have provided several reader and social networking platforms with which to subscribe: Twitter, Pinterest, RSS Feed Reader or Email/Follow directly using the Blog Followers or Follow Your Way widget on the left hand side toolbar. Thank you for reading and please feel free to ask if questions arise - I appreciate comments and ideas too! J
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9 comments:

  1. Thank you, Shroom :)

    Love the pic of the bee, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are most welcome! We bloggers need to look out for one another ;)

    Thanx! - The pollinators quite enjoy the Heliotrope and it has an amazing scent as well!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Morning Shroom, Happy Bday as you say.

    Your blog and all its social sights are truely awesome.

    Hears to another 10 years!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey hey!

    Thank you very much Ross!

    Cheers to many more blog posts and lots of good homegrown food; there just ain't nothin' better! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Shroom,

    How you doing? Wanted to ask, I am building a new garden bed for tomatoes in a very sunny spot. What would you suggest would be the best soil mixture for tomatoes? I was thinking mostly home made compost, bought compost and chicken manure. Any suggestions?

    Oh sorry this article has not got anything really to do with tomatoes. If you want you could reply to email address (ross.milelr09@gmail.com) if you dont want random comments.

    Thanks :)
    Oh sorry this article has not got anything really to do with tomatoes but

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey hey!

    Random comments are better than no comments/spam! ;)

    The mixture you have there sounds pretty good - just make sure to get lots of organic matter in the soil and a good mulch cover (dead or living). The chicken manure and home made compost have fairly similar NPK ratings (3:1:1 and 2:1:1) respectively with lots of trace minerals. It would be good to add some extra potassium (K), especially once they start to bloom and fruit - good organic sources of potassium would be potash (wood ashes, untreated), comfrey leaves, banana peels, beet leaves and borage leaves. I generally like to add more potassium than nitrogen/phosphorus to the soil for fruit and vegetables seeing that it is the main mineral involved in flowering, fruiting and overall plant resistance. I would also recommend feeding the tomatoes with liquid organic feed every second week during flowering and fruiting to get the best from them, they can be really hungry buggers!

    The biggest thing with tomatoes is to prune them correctly to force them to ripen as they set fruit (else you wait till February!), you can check my method that I posted on it here: http://rsandss.blogspot.com/2011/12/fruit-of-month-tomato.html ... Wow that post is one of my first, hmm, I should write an update on it sometime (like I don't grow them it pots anymore too much problems with blossom end rot then)... Anyways, you can probably increase the amount of fruits on each branch depending on how good the soil is, but the basic pruning guide is there.

    Here is an extra article on organic manures and their NPK values: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/documents/lc437organicfertilizersvaluesrev.pdf

    Hope that helps!

    P.S: I am starting a new type of garden and soil management system based on the principles of Conservation Agriculture (you can check Wikipedia and the FAO site for the basic idea behind it) and will be posting a comprehensive article on that in mid-Sep should you be interested! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. haha well then I will continue to be my random self ;)

    Thanks thou I was thinking there will be no actual garden soil in the mixture. Thats what I am most worried about. Can you grow tomatoes in no garden soil. Wont I not have enough trace materials as soil has a lot more of those? Thanks for the tip with regards to the potassium. Will be adding most likely wood ash and beet leaves as plan to grow plenty beetroot.

    I checked the article out - it looks very helpful. Each year I struggle with growing tomatoes and getting what I think is a lot of fruit from them. Also always get blight on tomatoes by late Jan & Feb. I think the biggest problem is my pruning and spacing between plants.

    Your advice is awesome.

    Look forward to that tremendously. I have been trying that since the beginning (2 years now) . Well at least a combination of it. Thou I find to have a permanent soil cover is very difficult, esp in winter. I dont have enough mulch for the whole veggie garden. Also in winter I do not like being outside - I hate the cold - rather be out with friends or at Oppi. Now I am rambling on. Anyway it is something I want to get right. I try even not to step on my soil as that compacts the soil and then I have to fork it which goes against CA. Looking forward to it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. It should be fine; as I have some fruits in pots that consist only of homemade compost - but if you are concerned about missing some trace minerals you can check out the organic fertiliser range of Talborne Organics (had a peek myself last night). They have a truely fantastic range and the "Vita - Flower & Fruit 3:1:5 (18) is a slow release fertiliser for beds whereas the Biogrow Biotrissol 3:2:5 is a liquid one". Each have that high potassium content and nutrient ratio that the fruits and vegetables respond well to. I am gonna try their liquid fertiliser seeing that I phased out my synthetic one - I generally like to do a two-weekly fertiliser with half-strength liquid feed for all 'actively' growing fruits and veg (during winter dormant ones are only fed once a month with half-strength liquid feed).

    For the tomatoes last year I sowed two sets, since we eat less tomatoes than the garden can produce so I can plant out half at a time. In August I start seedlings in the greenhouse to plant out September and then another set directly sown in the garden during December. This worked out pretty well as the 'early set' produced and ripened by November(cherry)/December(standards) through to January/February, whereas the second set give another harvest February-April - and I am able to rip out any sad looking plant from the early set without loosing further cropping time, maybe that can help with your blight problem too seeing that you can rip out all the diseased ones by then. Some of the early set tomatoes weren't spent by that time and I managed to get a second crop from them after the first ripened. So the pruning methods should allow you to get similar results and hopefully less disease seeing that the pruning will allow more air-flow between/within the plants. Hope it works out!

    Winter gardening can be unappealing especially on a cold windy day like today! I have similar problems with mulch in winter (since the chicken coop also uses a lot of the stashed grass-clipping from the lawn). That's why I am trying to do a living mulch that can stay in the ground during winter - but it is gonna take some time to establish and a weed-war will likely ensue, but I hope to be relatively weed-free and dry mulch-independent by next winter... will see how well that works out LOL! Will post updates!

    Good luck & fare thee well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops forgot to add websites!

      Talborne Organics: they have a large distribution range for their products, so should not be difficult to find
      http://www.talborne.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=13

      Starke Ayres also has an organic range, but I have not seen these in the stores yet:
      http://www.starkeayres.co.za/organic-garden-products.php#
      http://www.starkeayres.co.za/docs/Fertiliser%20Manual%20(MARCH%202013).pdf

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