Website Header
The Cultivator
Double Corn Chili Bean Bake and Strawberries -
The CobraHead Newsletter
December 2011
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

Even with a couple of frosts it has been a mellow December so far in Austin.  With just a little protection all of my fall crops are still going strong.  My goal is to eat greens from the garden several times a week every week of the year.  So far, so good.

However, the leaf cutting ants are back with a vengeance, clearing superhighways throughout my front yard in order to transport leaves from my fruit trees back to their underground farms.  I suspect that the summer drought stressed my trees and made them targets for the ant's methodical leaf removal service.  They went after the young pear trees first, which were already in rough shape.  When I replant the pear trees (four of the seven are already dead and I don't have much hope for the remaining three) I will put them on drip irrigation and get on a weekly seaweed foliar feeding schedule.  A lot of people in Austin, including John Dromgoole of The Natural Gardener, swear by liquid seaweed for helping plants deal with stress (drought, heat, winter).

I'm hoping that because it's already so late in the season, the peach and the plumcot will survive.  Tanglefoot around the trunk of each of these trees has stopped the ant's progress, at least temporarily.  For the moment they seem to be content carting off the peach leaves that have already fallen on their own.

In this issue, Judy shares an easy but satisfying Double Corn Chili Bean Bake recipe, Noel reviews his 2011 garden and I share plans for making a self-watering strawberry planter.  

What were your best and worst gardening moments this year?  Drop me a line at

Happy gardening,

Self Watering Strawberry Planter
Self Watering Strawberry Planter

Geoff modified a homemade self-watering container to make it work for strawberries.  Strawberries on top.  Strawberries out the sides.  This is a fun project.  See how to make your own here.
Double Corn Bean Bake
Double Corn Chili Bean Bake
Double Corn Chili Bean Bake

Judy's hearty recipe takes longer to say than to make.  Perfect for a cold winter day.  As always, Judy also explains how to change the recipe to fit your own tastes.  See the recipe here.

Noel Valdes
The Old Dog

Gardening patterns and habits repeat themselves as you learn what has to be done to ensure a good harvest, but that hardly means every year is the same. Here Noel shares the new things that he learned this year and also tells about his path to becoming a sought after garden speaker.  Click here to see more.


Don't forget:  Save 10% on everything on our website between now and December 31. 
Use the code DECEMBER or call us at 866-962-6272 (toll free) or 608-423-9119.

The US Postal Service is advising Tuesday, December 20th as the last day to send First-Class Mail for Christmas arrival. They usually do a pretty good job of getting packages delivered in a timely manner, but if you need a guaranteed delivery date, please call us to place your order so we can discuss other shipping options. We will continue to ship orders through noon on Friday, December 23rd, and we will resume shipping on Tuesday, December 27th.

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
Self Watering Strawberry Planters
Double Corn Chili Bean Bake
Teaching an Old Dog to Teach
You can still save 10%


Leaf Cutting Ants
Leaf Cutting Ants
I know I'll regret saying this as soon as it goes down in print, but here we go into the middle of December without any significant snow and I'm not at all upset.  From a gardening perspective snow is a very good thing.  I really don't want to go all winter without some major accumulations.  A deep layer of snow through the winter acts as an insulator and delivers needed moisture.  A good blanket of snow also makes the soil noticeably softer in the spring.  But snow is no fun when you are on the road, and as a high mileage driver, I can only hope the major storms occur when I don't have to be anywhere.

This year saw continued growth and re-birth of home gardening and big increases in the locally grown food movement.  That's a good thing for many reasons and as a company, CobraHead is glad to be a small part of the push to get people to grow good food.  I'm most encouraged by the community and urban garden programs that are springing up everywhere.  It's easy to eat good food if you have a lot of money, but it can be very difficult when you are poor or close to it.  The food choices just aren't there.  Garden projects can help people get access to good food at very low cost and they can also be a teaching mechanism to show people that there is a better way to eat.

We are also very happy that we have developed a newsletter readership.  We are a tiny little entity, but we really try hard with our blog posts and newsletters to deliver some useful food information.  Having a monthly newsletter deadline forces us to write regularly and I think it makes us better gardeners, too.  We honestly appreciate our readers and our customers.  So thank you!
Geoff will be up here in Wisconsin in a couple days and we'll celebrate the holidays together as a family.  We want to wish all our newsletter readers an excellent holiday season and a very Happy New Year.

Noel and the CobraHead Team
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List