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The Cultivator
Sweet Potato Cheesecake, Seed Inventory, and Onions in Austin
The CobraHead Newsletter
January 2014
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

Two weekends ago, my dad, Noel, visited me in Austin. We planted peas and onions. Last week, like much of the country, we had a cold snap. On Friday morning there was a thin layer of ice and show over the newly planted bed. But now that the temperature has risen again, the onions appear healthy and the peas have just started to germinate, almost as if they were waiting for the snow to go away before they popped through the protective surface of the soil.
We also weeded and prepared the next bed, which is good, because the Chinese broccoli and kohlrabi seedlings that I started indoors are almost ready to be transplanted. Austin's going to get another cold snap on Tuesday night, so I won't plant these seedlings until next weekend.

I'm trying to implement a new gardening method this year of dividing my 4 foot by 16 foot raised beds into 4'x4' sections that are easier to prep. Ideally, I'll always have at least one or two sections ready to plant and covered so that when I have transplants ready to go into the ground all that I'll have to do is uncover the planting area and drop in the seedlings.

Thanks to my dad's help, I'm ahead of the game for the moment.

In this issue, I describe the onion spacing method that we used, Noel shares his seed storage and inventory system, and Judy shows you how to make Walnut Crusted Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie.

What kind of gardening prep have you been able to do so far this year? Drop me a line at  

Happy gardening,  


Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie
Judy's cheesecake recipe uses a nut crust instead of a flour crust.  Even the cook says "scrumptious".  
Raised bed with onion transplants
Onions in Austin
Noel helped Geoff plant his onions in Austin.  See their method for spacing and planting the seedlings

Stored Seed and Printed Inventory

Noel's new seed storage system is both easy and inexpensive. 

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
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Planting Onions in Austin
Easy Seed Storage
Oregano and Anise Hyssop in the Snow

We haven't had a winter this cold in many years. I was hoping this was a thing of the past, but that's not the case. January has given us day after day of below zero temperatures. Come on, spring! The vernal equinox is less than 60 days away, but we'll have to wait and see if it actually brings warm weather.


I had a brief taste of what southern gardeners experience this time of year when I spent a weekend with Geoff down in Austin.   I helped him clean up his weedy garden paths and we planted peas and onions.  


It was fun gardening outside in January, but I'm kind of glad we don't have that weather. Other than some February pruning, I have a four month break from almost all outdoor garden work. Any weeds growing here are buried beneath the snow. I won't have to deal with them until the end of March.


I'm still gardening in spite of the weather. I've started flats of onions and leeks. I've cataloged and inventoried all my seeds, and I'm making my plans for this year's garden adventure.  


We've cut back on a few of the garden shows that we've historically attended for CobraHead, so I'm hoping that will give me more gardening time. In years past I've often been at a show booth on the very best weekends to be getting things done.  


Three things are high on my garden wish list: Start my own color flats - I was buying flats of marigolds, zinnias and other color to scatter in the garden. I know I can do this myself.  I want to do a lot more trellising of my vegetables. I bought 100 bamboo poles last season. They are pretty cheap when you buy that many. I used them on my tomatoes, but this year I hope to get quite creative and build some upward structure for all kinds of things like beans, melons, cukes, and more.  


Finally, I want to continue working with season extending structures. I'm hoping to develop some ridged, yet portable framing for low hoop tunnels that will be more permanent and stronger than the PVC tubing I'm now using. The PVC collapses under heavy snow.  I saw some ridged hoop frames made from concrete reinforcing rod when I went with Geoff to get some onions at the Natural Gardener store in Austin. Those were intriguing.  I thought I might be able to make them. 


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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