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The Cultivator
Texas Peas, Wisconsin Carrots and Still More Sweet Potatoes
The CobraHead Newsletter
January 2013

Hello, Friends of CobraHead,


I wasn't sure how to start this introduction, so I went out to the garden to see the latest changes and graze on some sharp volunteer arugula. The peas that I write about in the post below have just begun to germinate. It's almost time to harvest the last of the beets planted the previous fall. And my neighbor's new puppy sits by the fence, waiting for me to greet him.


Winter didn't really happen in Austin this year. There were a couple of frosts in December, though not even enough to kill off all of the peppers and basil. I've been taking advantage of the mild days to get an early start on spring planting. My fall garden was not that extensive but the spring weather has given me gardening visions of grandeur.


Below I describe re-using last year's tomato trellis for this year's peas. Also in this issue, Judy shares a recipe for braised carrots and Noel gets an early start on his sweet potatoes.


What's the first thing that you are going to plant this year? Drop me a line at 


Happy gardening,


Peas and Kale
Interplanting Peas and Kale

Geoff is taking advantage of a mild Austin winter to do some January planting.  Here is his article about interplanting peas and kale using an already set up trellis. See more here.

Sweet Potato Leafing Out
Sweet Potato Start
Early Sweet Potato Starts

Noel was able to use some left over old sprouted sweet potatoes to get a big head start on setting upthe 18 starts he needs for his annual crop.  Read about how he did it here. 
Stove Top Braised Carrots
Braised Carrots
Stove Top Braised Carrots

We lost our oven to a storm for a few days.  While it was down, Judy used the still working range top to come up with an easy carrot dish that tasted like it was something good from the oven.    Click here to see the recipe.

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
Interplanting Peas and Kale
Early Sweet Potato Starts
Stove Top Braised Carrots


January Bloom
Winter Bloom

We started the New Year with mild weather, then it switched back to some below zero nights.  As I write this, it's back up to 53 degrees, but it will be dropping to more minus zero in another 48 hours.  Long stretches of below zero temperatures were the norm in Wisconsin just a few years ago, but now super-cold is infrequent.   I have to say that I don't miss the negative numbers.  


A bigger problem than warming in the whole upper Midwest is lack of precipitation. With only one serious snowfall so far, we are way behind what is normal. We had drought conditions for much of last year and the threat of too little rain is out there, again.


Gardeners have to be optimistic, however, so I'm planning my garden and what I'm going to grow this coming year. I've set up my indoor lights and I'll be starting some salad greens, shortly. I'll follow them up with my seedling starts. The catalogs are showing up and those always encourage forward thinking. I'll take inventory of what seeds I have and decide what I'll need to buy. By February, I'll be outside pruning the fruit trees and raspberries, cutting back what's left of last year's asparagus fronds, and launching the 2013 garden.


Last year's garden was exceptional in the amount and variety of food we grew and harvested. I hope I can come close to repeating our success. Growing food has been my nearly life long hobby, and the value of growing your own food can't be under estimated. The variety of food available to the home gardener is extensive and the quality is nearly always superior to what can be purchased from mainstream sources.


Home gardeners and small scale growers make a positive impact on reducing environmental damage associated with industrial agriculture and there is an argument that if enough people gardened using intensive organic techniques, there could be a positive effect on climate change. In any case, it's hard to argue with the quality of the food that growing-your-own delivers. So get growing!


The winner of a $50 gift certificate for our newsletter sign-up at the Porter County Master Gardeners Show in Valparaiso, Indiana was Sue Christman. Congratulations!


We'd like to remind all our readers that we love to grow our own food and to help others do the same. We post articles about food growing and cooking with home grown food on our website blog, and we almost always have a discussion or several going on about food and growing on our Facebook page. 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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