Roots 'n' Shoots: About: This Blog

Please Help RnS!

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 would fully appreciate any sharing of RnS via email, social media or whatever, because I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. I have (re)registered RnS with Bing and I have also switched to DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine.

Thank you & Enjoy the content!

- The Shroom -

About: This Blog

Hey hey! Welcome to my little bit of Internet space 

I be The Shroom. Here I have regular posts on how to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs. I have several article series of vegetable profiles, biological control via insects, chicken keeping, home composting and whatever else I come across to share with you!

I am situated in South Africa, Roodepoort. South Africa is an semi-arid to arid landscape with many different biomes. We also sport the world heritage site of the Fynbos (Afrikaans, a native language & my mother tongue, for "fine bush"), which is an endemic shrubland of the Cape Peninsula - Famous for the majestic Proteas.

Roodepoort South Africa
Google Maps

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Cape Town South Africa
King Protea
Protea cynaroides
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Roodepoort, however, is well within the Highveld region of South Africa. Thus my garden gets rain during the spring & summer months (Sep-Mar), which is a measly 700-800mm per year. Autumn (Apr-May) and winter (June -Aug) is relatively cold and very dry. In SA, water is precious and electricity very expensive, so we only use rainwater and grey water for the vegetable garden. Nothing powered by electricity is used in the vegetable garden - only elbow grease I try to keep all pest and disease control to biological and organic (green) methods. The same goes for composting, fertilising and soil maintenance.

South Africa's Climate Zones: Today, Tomorrow
International Green Building Conference and Exhibition
Future Trends and Issues Impacting on the Built Environment
D. C. U. Conradie 2012 (CSIR data 2010)

I started vegetable (edible) gardening during my 1st year BSc (Genetics) degree. The garden was mostly a container garden on our patio area, but that didn't work so great, since it became a breeding ground for all kinds of pests. So I moved outside to a little space behind the kitchen, which had this small strange plot and soil mostly occupied by grass - and we converted this into a veggie patch. First we only dug up half of the plot, and later expanded. Now the whole plot in under veg, a few containers and mini green house is dotted around the space.
Ooh! Very blue - sorry 'bout that - an old cellphone photo from 2008!!!

My approach to vegetable gardening is much the same as my approach to science - TRY EVERYTHING and see what works. So I have made my way through most of the vegetable types and cultivars available on the South African market.

I first experiment, then report back - this means that I generally publish "How To Grow Profiles" once every two months. These are substantial full articles between 3-5 A4 pages with just about everything I can get to put into the article - complete with photos to boot! I am trying to do a few smaller tidbit articles that are no more than 2 A4 pages (but I can't seems to help myself when it comes to research )... The Index and Info page will give you quick links to all my articles.

I cover a wide range of topics and am not just restricted to vegetable gardening. I have a large collection of botanical prints of herbs, vegetables and fruits featured on my posts. I have posts/pages on keeping chickens, composting, propagation, pruning, attracting wildlife to the garden (beneficial insects), biological pest control, water conservation, sustainable practises, books read, the exhibitions & talks I attended, and when the opportunity arises I'll introduce you to the world of Genetics and Molecular Science.

Me on the Web

You can find me on several places around the internet. Here are the most prominent:

Blooming Blogs

This is a gardening forum where we share ideas and knowledge about gardening whilst we enjoy each others gardens.
© Blooming Blogs


If you want to see my recent plantings and doings in the garden; then check out my profile @ MyFolia.
© Folia

Project Noah

Project Noah is something we all should join and support. It is supported by National Geographic and has been established to document biodiversity on a global scale. They welcome all 'citizen scientists' from novices to seasoned experts. All information and photos will become freely available to the public and contributions will be used for research purposes (as is the point of the site). You can find me here, with all my unknown and cryptic insects from the vegetable garden. Contributions can be made regarding all wildlife: Plants, mammals, fish, arthropods, birds, mushrooms, reptiles, amphibians, pets and anything else you come across. If you don't know the identity then enlist the help of others from around the world in identifying the plants or animals (insects) you find in your world.
© Project Noah, Networked Organisms

Twitter & Pinterest

Yes, I the social-network impaired have decided to open a twitter page for Roots 'n' Shoots! Here I will post links to my latest blog posts and some other things I might find interesting but won't necessarily feature on my blog. You are more than welcome to Follow me here as I am sure this is a much more convenient medium for many people to stay ahead of what is happening with life.

Visit me on twitter!

See what I am up to on Pinterest!

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: TwitterPinterestRSS 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! 

- The Shroom -


  1. Hey, I found your blog while doing some research for a geography assignment I have on soils. I would like to use a picture from your blog but I need to reference it. To do so, I need your name and the date you last edited the post about Soil profiles. Can you please email it to me at ? This is super important. Thanks.

  2. You are more than welcome to use my pictures and I can quickly whip up a citation for you :)

    The Shroom. 2013. Soil Profile, pp. Soil: Profiles & Maintenance in Roots 'n' Shoots, Roodepoort, South Africa.

    So the format here is [Author. Date. Image name, pp. Blog Page in Page URL. Blog Name. City, Country.] for fine-tuning. The page was last edited on 18 Sep 2013.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your project! :)

  3. Thank you so very much! :) Your site definitely helps a lot!

  4. Hi
    I'm an enthusiastic gardener and blog about growing my own food at Found you while looking for articles about perennial vegetables (want to grow more of those). Thanks for the information about gardening zones. I think I'm in 7 AUS/14US by your reckoning.

  5. Welcome Damaria! I am glad that fellow SA gardeners are stumbling upon my blog! Please feel free to browse the information here, for a quick reference check my Index & Info Page.

    I wanted to comment on your blog as well reading about your inspirational food garden journey :) but I have had problems with Google + in the past, so I don't want to start that up again ;) I hope you will join me here on a regular basis as I will be following your progress closely as well!

    Good luck with all your veg endeavours!!!

  6. HI there - what a fascinating and comprehensive gardening site and blog ! Came across it when 'googling' my new web page and came across your feature/article and research into Lunar planting - and see you're experimenting with Maria Thun's method - Biodynamic method. I personally believe that method works better for cooler climes - like in the Northern Hemisphere - but not great for SA. Do have a look at my now updated web page - and I also produce an annual poster Moon calendar set for South africa -called Moonlight Calendar - my experience and feedback from other uses say this 'method' of lunar gardening is simplier. Btw: One of the benefits of lunar gardening that it sets up a rhythm for gardening activities and actually makes gardening easier.
    I'll keep on following your blogs. Good luck with your fruit/veg gardens
    regards Ilona

  7. Hey hey! Thanx for dropping by and leaving a comment! I was wondering the other day where The Gardener Magazine got its Moon Calendar from ;) Sadly I don't buy The Gardener anymore - not enough info on edibles!

    I am very glad that you lead me to your Lunar Calendar, I could always do a little experimenting myself with the two calendar options ... On that note, I see you post through regular mail, it there any other delivery options considering the stagnant state of the SA Post Office (or do you perhaps supply a digital version)?

    I will be adding your Calendar as an additional option for my readers to my recent Lunar Gardening post as well!

    Thanx again for stopping by! Please enjoy the rest of my blog's content and I hope your garden will be bursting at its seams this coming season! :)

  8. Greetings O'Shroom! Found you on EcoFootprint's page (Dani) ... super to hear you are in my Jozi neighbourhood - I'm busy establashing a little garden here -while planning greater things for my farm in Riversdale, close(ish) to Dani - I must start blogging too. Thanks for all the articles - I'm yet to get to them - but I'm sure they'll be awesome!

  9. Hey hey! Welcome, welcome!

    Wow - gardening in two different climatic regions is going to be quite the adventure! Would love to read up on all your gardening effort if you do decide to start blogging about it.

    Thanx for stopping by and enjoy the content! ;)

  10. HI there, Nice to see a South African blogging on "homesteading" and shrooms.....I have a mushy I'd like help identifying? If you can help me, that would be wonderful, but ho do I post an image?

  11. Hey hey! Glad you found me!

    You can post the picture to twitter or direct message me there @
    If you are interested there is a book on SA mushrooms: Mushrooms of South Africa by Marieka Gryzenhout (2010) from Struik Nature.


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