Website Header
The Cultivator
Reubens, Raised Beds and Recipes for Thanksgiving
The CobraHead Newsletter
November 2012
Hello, Friends of CobraHead,

My garden has never looked stranger than it does right now.  We haven't had a frost yet in east Austin, so I'm still getting hot peppers and even some basil from the summer plantings.  I also have a section of beets, kohlrabi and Chinese kale that looks like a typical fall garden.  But mostly I have a lot of plants that I have deliberately let go to seed:  leafless okra stalks with fruits drying seven feet in the air; chard seeds on stalks draped over the garden fence, molokhia seed pods that look like mini torpedos and fuzzy papalo flowers reminiscent of dandelions, except that they are five feet tall.

In the past month arugula and cilantro have sprouted on their own.  The majority of this year's basil is also volunteer, as is the papalo.  In fact, so much basil came up, that I had to weed a lot of it out to make room for other crops. When I do harvest my sweet potatoes, I'll be able to compare the plants that I deliberately planted to the ones that came up on their own from some pieces of root that I failed to remove last fall.  Next year, I'll plant the same two varieties of okra from which I've now saved seeds three years in a row.

I'd like to attribute this to some sort of grand vision on my part and indeed, I have made the choice to deliberately let many crops go to seed.  But it is equally attributable to not being in the garden as much this year as I usually am and therefore letting plants get just a little out of control.  Regardless, I have still enjoyed abundant harvests this year.  

In this issue, Noel goes into greater detail about his productive open raised bed system and how he also preps beds in the fall and puts them to rest in order to make spring planting easy.  Judy shares a recipe for a delicious veggie Rueben sandwich.

Judy also provides a recipe for marinated Brussels Sprouts that makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving.  We've developed a repertoire of tasty Thanksgiving recipes.  Here are the links to three of our favorite staples that we'll be cooking on Thursday:  Meatless Thanksgiving with Gravy, Wild Rice and Bread Stuffed Winter Squash, Pumpkin from the Garden to the Table.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe that incorporates your garden harvest?  Drop me a line at

Happy gardening,

Veggie Reuben
Veggie Reuben

Here's a quick lunch from Judy.  If you use your own homemade sauerkraut for the sandwich, even better.  For those of you who haven't tried tofu, or think you don't like it, this recipe may change your mind.  See the recipe here.
Raised Beds-Noel's North Garden
Noel's Raised Beds
Noel uses no power tools in his garden, minimal outside inputs, and has an abundance of fruits and vegetables every year.  Click here
to see more about his methods and also how his fall preparations ensure easy work in the spring.
Marinated Brussel Sprouts
Marinated Brussels Sprouts
Marinated Brussels Sprouts

Marinated Brussels Sprouts make a great do-ahead side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or any other meal for that matter.  Snack on them between meals too.  This recipe is easy and delicious.  See it 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
Veggie Reuben
More on Raised Beds
Marinated Brussels Sprouts


Thanksgiving Squash
Thanksgiving Squash

November has been mild so far and that's let me get ahead on my annual winter shutdown of garden production.  I've been able to get most of the beds weeded clean and covered with a deep layer of leaves.  I've also been able to rebuild and turn over a compost pile, so next spring I should be in great shape.  As Thanksgiving approaches, we have a great harvest to be thankful for, and I'm happy that I can grow so much of the food we eat.

Gardening is a continuous process.  It takes time to learn how to grow things well.  There is a rhythm and seasonal flow that gardeners need to attune themselves with to get the most out of their growing efforts.  It's my thinking that to do it right, you need to try to be part of the whole cosmic picture, in tune and working with nature.  And to that end, Judy and I were vendors at the North American Biodynamic Conference this past Saturday.  If you are not familiar with Biodynamic agriculture, I suggest you check it out and at least be aware of the Biodynamic approach. 


Rudolf Steiner, a German philosopher, founded the biodynamic movement.  Steiner called out the insanity of modern agricultural practices way back in the 1920's.  He knew that turning our food growing over to chemists and to a science whose only motive was profit was going to ruin agriculture and destroy the wisdom that farmers had accumulated over thousands of years of working in harmony with nature.

Steiner and his followers have developed an approach to agriculture that is spiritual, ecologically sustainable, and totally respectful of the earth.  Biodynamic agriculture incorporates the use of naturally formulated compounds referred to as preparations that enhance the efforts of the farmer and gardener in growing plants and animals and in caring for the soil.  The methodology is organic and teaches that a farmer should produce just about all of what he needs on his own farm with little or no inputs from elsewhere.

I'll admit that I've never been able to totally jump into what is a somewhat mystical approach to gardening, but I absolutely acknowledge the success of the biodynamic farmer - they are the best growers out there.  Biodynamics also teaches a sacred respect for the earth that should be a model for all of us.

We have three winners of our $50 gift certificate giveaway for newsletter sign ups we solicit at events where we are promoting CobraHead.  We drew Verlyn Rosenberger's name at the Organic Gardening Day Conference in Urbana, Illinois; we drew Stacy Maurer's name at the Biodynamic Conference in Madison, Wisconsin; and we drew Camille Schwandt's name at the Louisiana State Master Gardener Conference in Lake Charles.  Congratulations!

Enjoy this Thanksgiving.   We wish you a good holiday.  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   





Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List