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The Cultivator
Spring Planting and Sweet Potato Hummus - The CobraHead Newsletter
March 2012
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

I've been back in Austin for a week after almost a month on the road for CobraHead.  Since coming home, I've been in the garden daily and it's a great change of pace from hotels, airplanes and convention centers.  That's not to say that I didn't stay in gardening mode while on the road.  I attended some great workshops at both the Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin and the Philadelphia Flower Show.  The highlight for me was attending a talk by Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, called Fungal Dynamics Underlying Plant Health.  Watch for an upcoming post.  

Between the early spring and my travels I'm in a race against time to get a lot of my garden planted.  Tomatoes are in, beans will be planted tonight.  Given Austin's hot summers, there is a narrow window in the spring for many crops before the heat takes its toll.  Of course, I'm still eating chard, cilantro and other greens from my winter garden.  Noel also talks about how the unusually warm weather has affected his spring gardening in his post below.

We have a contest this month.  Our friends at Botanical Interests have given us not one, but two collections of their seeds to giveaway.  See the details below.  Also, in this issue Judy shares a recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus.  It's good.  Really good.  

Has spring weather changed for you this year?  How has it affected your gardening?  Drop me a line at

Happy gardening,

Botanical Interests Basic Bounty Veggie Seed Collection
Botanical Interests Basic Bounty Seed Collection
Seed Giveaway Contest

Our friends at Botanical Interests have given us two of their seed collections to giveaway.  It's easy to enter.  Click here to see the contest details.
Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet Potato Hummus
Sunny Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Judy's addition to traditional hummus is tasty and easy to make.  Plus, she shows how to adapt the dish to what you have on hand.  See the recipe here.

Noel's Compost and Cold Frame
Spring Cleaning

Noel doesn't know if the unusually warm spring weather portends oncoming climatic disaster, but it's sure making it easy to get a jump start on a lot of this year's preparation tasks in the garden.  Read here about how his lazy composting system makes his   spring garden cleanup easier. 


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
Seed Giveaway Contest
Sweet Potato Hummus
Lazy Composting and Spring Cleaning


Bonsai at Philly Flower Show
Bonsai at Philadelphia Flower Show
Rather than go on about the weather, I'll just say it's really hot and definitely not normal.  I'm going to use the warm days to my advantage to try to get a little ahead in the garden.  I hope to drop in the peas this weekend and continue preparing the garden beds for the oncoming planting.  I'm guessing we are about six weeks ahead of normal.  If we don't get any more severe freezes, I might actually be able to get a real jump on things.

I've been fortunate to have been invited to talk about my open raised bed gardening techniques quite a few times already this year and I've got several more talks lined up for March and April.  The use of open raised beds for vegetable production for the home gardener makes a lot of sense.  They are low-maintenance, offer high volume production, and can be extremely low cost.  They can also be very useful for community and school garden projects and for small scale growers.  

I talk a lot about my gardening techniques on our CobraHead gardening blog.  Just search gardening and/or raised beds and most of my posts (and Geoff's) on the subject will come up.  Our blog is all about food, growing it and preparing it, and we now have a sizeable archive of good recipes featuring garden grown food.  The culinary directions are mostly Judy's efforts, but Geoff has some recipes for good eats spelled out as well.

We continue to do garden related shows of all types to promote our tools.  Some are very small local events, but the biggest of all is the Philadelphia Flower Show.  It's definitely the largest flower show in the US by a wide, wide margin.  Well over a quarter million people attend the nine day event.  The show has its pluses and minuses.  On the plus side is that with that many people, it's not hard to find enough gardeners who would like to buy a CobraHead tool to make the show profitable.  The main minus is that it is a long and grueling show.  The other is that the show points out that in a random cross section of Americans, most people don't garden.  We're working to change that, but I don't expect overnight success.

We are pleased to announce winners of $50 Gift Certificates for newsletter sign-ups at shows and events where we have recently exhibited.  At the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Farming conference in La Crosse, WI our winner was Barb Kraus.  At the Rock Island County Master Gardeners Nursery School at Moline, IL Ann Desalvo was our winner.  And at the Philadelphia Flower Show our winner was Marsha Levell.  Each of these people received a gift certificate worth $50 for any items from the CobraHead website.

I hope this garden year is a good one for you.  Thanks for reading our newsletter.

Noel and the CobraHead Team
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