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The Cultivator
Planting Potatoes and Preparing Preserves - The CobraHead Newsletter
April 2012
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

We've had a mild spring in Austin, mostly 80s during the day and 50s and 60s at night with some rain.  Tomorrow it will start hitting the 90s.  So far I'm happy with my garden efforts.  My peach tree is loaded with fruit that are a couple of days away from being fully ripe.  The front yard perennial garden continues to expand with plants that I picked up at a plant sale at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center as well as other herbs.  My strawberry bucket provides me with a couple of berries almost every day and I'm eating chard several times a week. Tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and summer squash are in the ground and on their way.  

Beyond my personal garden, I continue to work with the young people at Red Salmon Arts' Save Our Youth program, SOY.  Tonight we are going to sow micro-greens, using a method that Ted Skenandore of the Tsyuhehkwa Center explained to me.  I'll have a post up next week with details.

In this issue, Noel explains his new potato hilling method.  It works great with raised beds and makes the hilling process easier.  I talk about loquats, a tropical looking ornamental tree with a tasty fruit and I also share a recipe for cream of sweet potato soup.  By the way, the soup is really good.

Are you trying any new growing methods this year?  Drop me a note at

Happy Gardening,

Potato Bed with Ridges
Noel's Potato Beds
Plentiful Potatoes

Noel tries a new method this year to increase potato production and make the hilling easier.  And it works great with his open raised bed system.  Learn more.
Sweet Potato Soup
Cream of Sweet Potato Soup
 Cream of Sweet Potato Soup

This soup is easy and filling, not to mention tasty, too.  Geoff explains how to make it with or without dairy.  Click here to see the recipe.

Loquat Fruit

Austin had so many loquat fruit over the past few weeks that Geoff made loquat sauce.  Learn more about this tropical looking small tree with delicious fruit.


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
Plentiful Potatoes
Cream of Sweet Potato Soup


It's Lilac Time
Here in the north, gardening and weather are so interrelated that most gardeners are weather junkies, constantly obsessing about heat, cold, wind and rain, and in the spring and fall, frosts and freezes.  The final figures aren't in, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the average mean temperature in March ends up higher than the average mean temperature for April.  That never happens; at least I've not experienced it before.  March was hot.  April has been very cold with many nights falling below freezing.   

It could be worse, no snow, or torrential rains so far, but the cold has slowed down planting a little.  I've been doing well on getting my indoor seed starts going, so I should be ready with my tomatoes and other plants when nicer weather finally arrives.  

We are happy to announce that CobraHead ran a seed contest giveaway on our garden blog that was very successful.  We had 95 readers sign up for the seed collections generously donated by Botanical Interests.  Our two winners were Janiece (first name only, and that's okay) who won the Basic Bounty Veggie Garden Collection; and our good friend Chris McDiarmid who won the Heirloom Tomato Seed Collection.  

And we have more winners.  The following folks each won a $50 Gift Certificate good for shopping on the CobraHead website by signing up for our e-mail newsletter at recent events.  They are Megan Noel at the Zilker Garden Show, Sally Scott at the Fond du Lac Master Gardener Conference, and Bob Bergschultz - Port Washington, WI, YMCA Garden Talk.  Congratulations to everyone.

Attention Master Gardeners attending the Texas State Master Gardener Conference in San Antonio, May 3 - 5, CobraHead will be there with Geoff representing us.  Please stop by our booth to say hello.  

We'd like to remind all our readers that we love to grow our own food and help others do the same.  You can help us spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to a friend and if you have any gardening questions, drop us a note.  If we can't help you we'll find someone who can.

Thanks for reading our newsletter.

Noel and the CobraHead Team
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