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The Cultivator
White Corn Soup and Winter Reflections - The CobraHead Newsletter
January 2011
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

I'm grateful for my fall planted broccoli.  I'll be harvesting the first heads this week and the plants look great.  I can't say the same thing about the broccoli raab, the Chinese kale or Asian mustard greens.  The flea beetles used the plants for shotgun practice.  I normally try to minimize my use of even biological pesticides, but I am trying a weekly spraying of a neem-based product on these greens for three weeks and will see if they can recover from their stunted growth.


The weather here in Austin has been alternating between freezing nights and winter rains, so I'm a little behind in getting the first spring bed ready for planting.  The next bed will consist of onions, Sugar Snap peas, mesclun greens, beets and kohlrabi.  (Yes, I am one of those people who think that kohlrabi is the world's greatest vegetable.) 


Due to my travel schedule for CobraHead, I need to have all of my spring crops planted before I leave town the third week of February.  By the time that I get back to Austin in late March it will already be the start of the early summer season.  Noel, on the other hand will be lucky if he can start getting into the ground in March in Wisconsin.  In this issue he shares some of his planning process for the New Year.


As always, we provide you with one of our favorite recipes, this time it's Oneida White Corn Soup.


Let us know what you are going to do differently in your garden this year.  Drop me a note at


Happy Gardening,



Noel's Peas and Lettuce
Noel's Peas and Lettuce

2010 Garden Reflections

Despite the challenges of travel, running two businesses, and possibly the worst mosquitoes in Wisconsin's recorded history, Noel had an excellent and productive garden in 2010.  Here he notes what went right and what could be improved in 2011.
Ted with Oneida White Corn
Ted with Oneida White Corn
Oneida Corn Soup

Earlier this month Ted Skenandore visited Geoff in Austin and brought a bundle of dehydrated Oneida White Corn that he grew at the Tsyuhehkwa Farm on the Oneida reservation in northeast Wisconsin.  This isn't sweet corn soup, it's white flint corn soup that will fill you up and keep you warm.  Geoff's friends keep asking him when he is going to make some more.  Click here to see the recipe.
Fedco Cover
Fedco Catalog

In January, an Old Man's Fancy Turns to Seed Catalogues

We are re-issuing an earlier post of Noel's reflections on seeds and garden planning.  Winter is a good time to contemplate the cyclical nature of gardening and note what has changed and what hasn't.  See his thoughts on seeds and seed saving here.

If you like our newsletter and our products or if you have some suggestions, we'd love to hear from you.

If you have gardening friends or if you know potential gardeners who might be interested in CobraHead and what we have to say about gardening and eating, please to them. 
It is the mission of CobraHead to help people grow their own food and to provide exceptional products and services to all gardeners.  We try hard to "walk the walk" when it comes to issues of sustainability and in deciding what is best for ourselves and the environment as we grow our little company.  We've chosen to make our tools locally, here in Wisconsin, and we think that bigger is not necessarily better.  Gardening might just be earth's great hope, and in any case it's a great hobby.
Thank you,
Noel, Judy, Geoff and Anneliese
The CobraHead Team
In This Issue
2010 Garden Reflections
Oneida White Corn Soup
Seeds, Seed Saving and Seed Catalogs
Volunteer Fennel
Volunteer Fennel in Geoff's Winter Garden

The forecast tonight for Cambridge, Wisconsin:  Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around -10F. Wind chill values between -15 and -25.  10 below zero!  I love this state?  Actually, I do.  However, the cold gets old.  I need an escape, so Anneliese and I are heading south on Monday.  We're going to New Orleans to attend the winter meeting of the Direct Gardening Association.  I looked up New Orleans weather.  It's not very exciting, either, but the lows are above freezing so it will offer some relief.


New Orleans will not be all fun and games and doing the touristy stuff, but rather 2 1/2 days of meetings with our fellow DGA members. But there will be a some fun.  After all, we'll be at a hotel in the French Quarter.


We joined the Direct Gardening Association, then called the Mailorder Gardening Association, in 2007 after CobraHead tools got picked up by a couple catalog producers who are members of this longtime industry association.  Being a member has been very good for us.  We now have about 20 fellow  members who sell our products.  At the conference we get to meet customers and talk to potential news ones, and the DGA also provides us with very useful connections to all of the garden industry.  There are many informative seminars that help us improve our website and our social media efforts.  We get lots of other marketing assistance, and most importantly, the association connects us with people who have the same goals and needs as we have.


On top of all that, the group and its meetings are very relaxed and friendly.  It's a pleasure to attend the conferences.  We were made to feel welcome the first time we attended.  The DGA has been good for CobraHead.  If you'd like to check out their membership, go to the DGA website.  (it may come up as Mail Order Gardening, because they just flipped the switch on the new name).  Chances are very good you'll know a lot of the members and that you get some of their catalogs.  If you're looking for the best in garden products you'll find it here.


If you have any questions about this group or any of the members we are happy to share what we know.  We like to hear from you, whether you want to talk about CobraHead, gardening, food, or catalogs.


We wish all our readers the very best for 2011.  Stay warm!


Noel and the CobraHead team.

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