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The Cultivator
Strawberries, Leeks and Compost
The CobraHead Newsletter
June 2013
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

I'm gearing up to plant cucumbers, okra and hot peppers. I've been saving my own seeds for two varieties of okra for the past three years and look forward to continuing the stock. The cucumbers will use the same trellis that I used for the spring sugar snap peas. I usually start several varieties of hot peppers indoors from seed, but that didn't happen this year, so I will have to pick up eight or ten transplants.

I didn't plant as extensive of a spring garden as I usually do, but volunteer sweet potatoes, basil, kale and cilantro have filled in some of the gaps.  Volunteers have also played a big role in Noel's garden, as he writes about here.


In this issue, Noel describes how he rotates strawberries through his raised bed system. Judy shares a recipe for braised salmon with mushrooms and rice with leeks. And Noel also shows how he makes massive amounts of compost using only hand tools and a minimal amount of work.

Have you had any unexpected volunteers this year? Drop me a line at

Happy gardening,


Strawberry transplants
Strawberry Transplants

Noel incorporates strawberries into his raised bed rotation.  His transplanting system provides a bountiful harvest every year.  Click here to read more.

Braised Salmon with Leeks
Braised Salmon with Leeks

Here's a quick salmon meal using leeks and corn frozen from last year's harvest.  It's a great way to use up chopped and frozen leeks, but of course fresh leeks will work just as well.  See Judy's recipe here.

Compost Pile and Tools
Noel's Compost

Compost solves everything!  Well, not quite, but Noel makes piles of it.  See his techniques and his favorites tools 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
Transplanting Strawberries
Braised Salmon and Rice with Leeks
Plenty of Compost


Old Silo

The silo is on the vacant property behind us. It's almost like an archaeological find in the jungle, with huge trees grown up all around and difficult to see until you get close. There was an old farmhouse and a small outbuilding on the property when we first moved here, but any barns and other farmyard vestiges were long gone.  The house was poorly maintained and had been relegated to a low cost rental property. It went empty for a while and was finally demolished about 10 years ago.


The silo is all that remains of a farmstead dating back to 1843. We were told the land was a grant given to a veteran for his service in the Blackhawk Indian War of 1832, but I haven't researched that to a conclusive answer. The 1843 reference is from our title abstract. In that year the property was deeded by the United States to one John Brown. After numerous sales and assignments, our four acres was deeded in 1956. Now our property is one of the largest pieces remaining from the original grant. What was once all farm is now almost all subdivision.   In a way it's too bad because the land around here is exceptionally productive, and if it were used to grow food, a lot could be had.


I'm trying to do my part to make my land give food. We are already eating lots out of the garden and the season is just beginning. But just like all years, I won't get everything planted that I want to. I can see already that storage squash and beans for drying are not going to make it this year. But unlike 1843, I don't need to grow everything I need to survive. We'll still get plenty of home grown food, and supplementing what we can't grow is easy with the farmer's markets and other great food options that have exploded in the last few years.


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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