Roots 'n' Shoots: July 2016

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)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Shroom’s Weather Report 2015/2016

*Cue music*

… da da da dum dum…

*Serious reporting voice*… Good morning and welcome to The Shroom’s annual weather report for the period of July 2015-2016.

Since the establishment of a mechanical weather monitoring system at The Shroom’s vegetable garden premises during July 2013; several observations of extreme weather have been made and empirical data collected of these events with regards to precipitation (mm) and temperature (oC).

Weekly temperature data was collected of maximum daytime temperatures during the peak hours from 11h00 to 13h00 and precipitation was measured in mm, or more accurately, the amount of rainfall in millimetres on a flat surface.

The results were as follows...


I have been tallying the temperature and rainfall of the vegetable garden for three seasons! I will summarise here the average monthly temperature and rainfall for the past season (2015/16) as well as making comparisons to the previous two (2013/14 and 2014/15).

Hailstorms were a massive problem this year as well as very hot weather with irregular rainfall:

1) The rainfall was on time (September), which gave us hope for the growing season but soon dried up for October-November, which resulted in plant loss as well as the rainwater tanks reaching 30% - Yikes!!

2) Droughts were widespread and severe throughout the country leading to loss of crops and animals, including little to no production from our own summer vegetable garden. See my Gardening lessons from Drought post.

3) Winter is still too warm for winter vegetables, but some smarter plantings resulted in an improved harvest for the winter garden.

Here are the graphs on average (mean) temperature and rainfall as well as a discussion about some of the problem areas for the year.

Temperatures overall were a lot higher than usual, especially for the Aug-Dec period. This resulted in quick initial growth of the garden, but come Oct-Dec all the plants were suffering due to the heat. Crops were poor and coupled with no rain resulted in mostly hand-watering, which only provided enough water to survive not thrive. At least we had loads of tomatoes! April was warmer than last year (which was already 5oC higher than 2014), May saw a drop (and us being more hopeful for a colder winter) but alas June temperatures are even warmer than last year. This is reflected in the growth of the winter garden = lots of initial good growth, stagnation and no crops… only beans, which can grow well in larger temperature ranges and planting the leaves in the shade resulted in some leafy crops as well. No peas, no broccoli, cauliflower or any other cabbages are cropping properly, in fact they have all stagnated and remained small immature plants.

Despite the fact that the rainfall tally this year is 709 mm (17.5% more than expected average of 600 mm p.a; where 2015 was 594.3 mm and we had 877.5 mm in 2014) its dispersal was atrocious. We had good rain in Sep, alarmingly less rain in Oct & Nov. The rain dump in March mostly went to filling the rain tanks as no vegetables are active during this time and a very late (yet welcome) rain in May have skewed the rain measurements for this season. Read more on the specific impact of the rain distribution in my Gardening lessons from Drought post.

If the extreme temperature and lack of rain during crucial growing seasons weren’t bad enough a freak hailstorm on the 9th of January decimated my vegetable garden as well as causing structural damage to my vegetable cage. Read more on my Gardening lessons from Drought post for the full story.

The investment in rainwater tanks was well placed, especially during this drought year since we did not only use it for the garden. Thankfully the El Niño system has started to dismantle and we surely hope for improved weather conditions during the next season.

After keen weather watching for three seasons we can summarise observations as follows: floods in 2014, dust in 2015 and droughts in 2016 - what will our crazy and unpredictable weather throw next at the backyard gardeners of South Africa? Well, you will have to stay tuned for another update next year!

*Serious reporting voice*
…Keep well and good night…

Related Post:

Drought Gardening Lessons from El Nino
Winter Blues Wires cross & signals lost 2015

Season Lore For the Southern Hemisphere
South Africa Climate & Hardiness Zones  

The Shroom's Weather Report 2014/2015
The Shroom's Weather Report 2013/2014


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