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The Cultivator
Sweet Potato Fries and Energy Fairs
 - The CobraHead Newsletter
June 2011

Hello Friends of CobraHead,


Striving to be a more successful gardener helps make me a more successful person.  The discipline of planning and caring for crops that I won't be able to eat for at least a couple of months brings discipline into other areas of my life.  Gardening has also taught me how to adapt to changing situations.  Austin is hot.  We've already had a few days that reached 106F.  The only way for me to work in the garden is to get up early and finish what needs to be done before 9am.  That's not a bad thing.  The days that I get up early to garden end up being my most productive days all around. 


Wisconsin is not nearly as hot as Texas.  In fact, when Noel, Judy and Anneliese went to Custer for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair there were days that the temperatures didn't even break 70.  In this issue Noel writes about some of the connections that he made at the fair, I share my version of oven-baked sweet potato fries, and Anneliese posts a video of Noel demonstrating some uses for the Long Handled CobraHead that you might find useful.


What crops and varieties do best for you when the summers get hot?  Drop me a line at


Happy Gardening,



Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Fries

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

With all of the sweet potato recipes that we like to cook, we've had yet to make sweet potato fries.  So earlier this month Geoff made a batch.  They didn't last long.  Click here to see the recipe.
New Friends

Midwest Renewable Energy Fair

Last weekend Anneliese, Judy and Noel traveled to Custer, Wisconsin for the Energy Fair.  This is one of our favorite events.  Learn about some other great gardeners that they met here.
Long Handled CobraHead
Long Handled CobraHead

Using the CobraHead Long Handle as a Scuffle Hoe

Last week Anneliese caught Noel on camera demonstrating his weeding skills.  This video captures Noel during his training for the weeding Olympics.  To see a use for our long-handled tool that you might not know about click 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
Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries
Midwest Renewable Energy Fair
New Uses for the CobraHead Long Handle
Baby Beets
Baby Beets

June in Wisconsin is when the garden really starts to kick into high gear.  We've had all the rain we need and then some, and the crops and the weeds are both doing great.  I know we talk a lot about the weather, but when you garden, the weather is a big deal.  We've had some real extremes so far.  No frost in June although we came pretty close, but some temperatures in the 90's and several really scary thunderstorms.  Nothing like what Geoff is experiencing down in Austin, where it's already been 106.  If Wisconsin saw the triple digit temperatures that Texas gets regularly, I'd have to think about moving to Manitoba.


Speaking of Canada, CobraHead received a very nice mention in Canada's main news site, the Toronto Globe and Mail. This brief mention got us a lot of Canadian inquiries and orders.  We are happy to be selling in Canada, where there are a lot more gardeners per capita than down here in the States.  Today Canada, tomorrow the world!


Speaking of mentions, our friends Chris and Steve McDiarmid, who own a great wine shop, Watertower Wines, in Coloma, Wisconsin, gave us a plug in their newsletter.  How can you top "If I ever lose my hand, replace it with a CobraHead?"  You folks are the best!


I've been experimenting with a neem oil based organic insecticide that Geoff found at last February's MOSES conference.  We've been hearing a lot about neem lately.  Neem is a tree that grows in India and its oils and other parts have been used there for 4,000 years.  Many people in India consider it a sacred tree.  It's also a very sustainable crop tree grown specifically to be harvested.  Neem oil used correctly is a very benign and selective insecticide.  It disrupts plant eating insect's digestive systems and kills many insects that eat the treated plants.  It causes no harm to beneficial insects including pollinators and those insects that might feed on or parasitize the bugs that eat the sprayed plants. 


I'm only beginning my tests, but it looks like I've nearly eradicated the asparagus beetles that feed on the fronds and lay eggs that turn into nasty little asparagus munching caterpillars.  I'm testing it on my pears and I'll soon see if it is effective on potato beetles.  Now if it works on Japanese beetles, we'll have something to talk about.


CobraHead has a busy summer and fall schedule of garden shows and sustainable living events.  They include EcoFair360 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin on July 8, 9, and 10 and the Kickapoo Country Fair in LaFarge, Wisconsin on July 30th.  If you are attending those shows, stop buy and say hello,  Check them out as they are both excellent and fun events.


Thanks for reading our newsletter.  We like to talk gardening and food.  Send us a line or comment.  And whatever your garden plans are for this year, we wish you much success.   


Noel and the CobraHead team.

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