Roots 'n' Shoots: New Year Post: International Year Events 2016 & Garden Update

Why is RnS Moving to

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. So I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @

I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom - (AKA Whisker Flowers)

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year Post: International Year Events 2016 & Garden Update

The first day of the new year has arrived once more and so we take a look at what the UN has dedicated the year to as well as updates from my garden(s)! Perhaps I'll even inspire additions to the new year's resolutions lists (i.e Eat/Grow more Pulses! LOL!)

International year of Pulses (2016)

This year is the international year of Pulses following on the sustainable agriculture theme from last years' international year of soils. The bunch at the FAO and associates have really embraced social media and have made loads of promotional stuff for me to share with you guys! So to start off, let me give you a summary infographic to get your mouth watering :)

For the last 2-3 years both me and my mom have slowly started to eat less red meat and then less meat all together, which could be a bit difficult at times as you do need some protein in your diet. We started experimenting with some Indian vegetarian dishes that introduced us to the amazing world of beans and other edible legumes. The only thing I associated with edible legumes previously were those awful red kidney sauce beans that my dad eats on his toast - yuck! Now, thought, I eat a lot more beans and chickpeas - the canned ones quickly rinsed under the water (you need to shop for brands to get those that preserve the best flavour). The canned pulses makes for super easy lunches and I must profess that Cannellini (navy) beans my favorite! Also - all the rinse water can go to the vegetable garden so nothing is wasted! Awesome!

Here are some more in-depth infographics on the health and sustianable farming benefits of legumes!

Lastly some recipes! Also I would suggest getting your hands on some Indian recipe books - they make lovely legume stews and an assorment of other not-just-green-salad vegetarian dishes! Now eat your beans and your peas!!!

You can grow your own legumes in the veg garden and as a bonus they help to build up the soil when dug back in as compost. Check out my posts concerning how to grow them as well as soil management using legumes:

How to grow Peas

Natural Biofertilizers: The Edible Legumes

Sustainable, Productive & Economical Vegetable Gardening
            Part 1: Vegetables Worth Growing
            Part 2: Conservation Agriculture
            Part 3: Integrated Organic Gardening
            Part 4: Vegetable Garden Planting Guide & Management


For more information, promotional stuff, recipes and in-depth studies on the socioeconomic benefits of legumes, please see the following websites:

Garden Update

The vegetable garden isn't doing so great this year due to the terrible heat, high solar irradiation and very low rainfall. The El Nino is at its peak; it is the worst since 1982 for South Africa and the plants, insects and chickens are feeling it. There are so few insects in the veg garden, but in comparison, the rest of the yard has even less. So much so that the chickens aren't getting their full quota of bugs. This leads to thin egg shells, as the insect carapaces are the main source of egg calcium and we have had to supplement their diet with extra. Also when the occasional heat wave strikes (our highest was 39oC, 102oF), the chickens stop laying all together. The harvests are a month behind their usual schedule and they are minimal (at about 30% I should wager).

Fortunately we still have a harvest thanks to our monster 10 000 L rainwater tank at the main garden and the 5 000 L at the pumpkin patch - yet the rain has been minimal and at one point the 10 000 L was down to 3 000 L. I was just about having heart palpitations as I thought that we might not make it and my garden would cease to exist! Anyways, the worst of the El Nino ain't letting up until after the winter and we are expected to have hot & dry conditions for another two years. I have a feeling that the winter garden would have to be carrots and beets seeing that last year it was too warm already for peas, beans, cauliflowers and broccoli!

One good thing at least is that the next season should be better on all accounts (heat, rain and harvest) than this year and I am looking forward to a vegetable garden that isn’t already run-down by December. See pictures below: the garden looks like it should in April instead of all green and happy it looks fairly beat up and just about choking!!! Last year's picture is at the bottom for comparison!

Main Vegetable Garden December 2015 (New Year Post 2016)
Main Vegetable Garden December 2014 (New Year Post 2015)

Previous related posts:

Want to see what it looked like last year (2014)? See: New Year Post 2015 & Garden Updates

Want to see what it looked like in 2013? See: New Year Post & Garden Updates 2014

Want to see what it looked like originally? See: About: This Blog


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