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The Cultivator
Ladders, Ants, and Ajvar
The CobraHead Newsletter
March 2013

Hello, Friends of CobraHead,


My peach tree flowered last month and has already set fruit while the plumcot just budded a few days ago.   In fact, it was so late in budding compared to the rest of my fruit trees that I was about to write it off as dead. The divergence among my trees may have been exacerbated by an unusually warm January followed by cooler February and early March temperatures. The warm January brought the peach tree out of dormancy, but not the plumcot.


A few weeks ago while prepping a bed for spring greens, I dug up over fifteen pounds of volunteer sweet potatoes. They had established themselves from bits of root that had been left in the ground after the 2011 harvest. Since we had a mild winter the tubers were still in great condition even though the vines had died in December.


The sugar snap peas are in full flower and will be producing soon. I tend to eat all of them while still in the garden and rarely harvest any for later.


In this issue, I describe a small victory I had against my arch-nemesis, the leaf cutting ant. Noel has been in seventh heaven with his new three point ladder, and talks about the advantages of these ladders for fruit tree care in his post below. And Judy shares a recipe for Ajvar, made from roasted red peppers.


What is your worst garden pest? Drop me a line at


Happy gardening,



Roasted Red Peppers - Ajvar
Ajvar and Cheese Spreads
Ajvar and Cheese Spreads
Judy used some frozen roasted red peppers to make ajvar.  Combined with an easy cheese spread, it makes a quick and tasty snack. See more here.

Tripod Ladder
Tripod Ladder
Tripod Orchard Ladder

Noel finally bought the lightweight and safe orchard ladder he had been wanting for years.  It makes working in trees a lot easier.  Read about it here. 
Peas damaged by leaf cutting ants
Ant Defoliated Peas
Stopping Leaf Cutting Ants

Geoff has been waging ongoing battles with leaf cutting ants in his Texas garden.  Click here to see the how the war is progressng.

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
Ajvar and Cheese Spread
Tripod Orchard Laddder
Leaf Cutting Ants


March Cat

When T.S. Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month", he wasn't living in Wisconsin this particular March. We are being punished on an almost daily basis with snow, rain, gusty winds and very cold temperatures. To make things worse, Judy, Anneliese and I all came down with the flu and we are operating at far less than full speed. I've been able to get out for a little bit of tree pruning, but mostly I've been stuck indoors for the whole month. I'm anticipating warm weather far more eagerly than in years past.


Judy and I started out the month in Philadelphia where we were vendors for CobraHead tools at the famous Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest flower show in the U.S. It's hard work, but we get to show off our tools to a huge crowd and we always find some new opportunities for CobraHead at the show.


One positive to the cold March is that the trees have not budded out and the sap has not started running, so even though I'm late with my fruit tree pruning, I don't think it matters. And I now have a wonderful tripod ladder which I talk about in a blog post.


My onion and leek seedlings are sprouting and I'll soon be starting some early greens which I plan to get outside to the cold frames in April. After that, it will be back into the annual routine of seeding and planting, weeding and harvesting. Last year's garden was exceptional and if we can come close this year, I'll be very satisfied.


Winners of $50 CobraHead gift certificates: At the MOSES organic farming conference in LaCrosse - Erika Jensen. 
At the Philadelphia Flower Show - David Ellis.  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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