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The Cultivator
Raspberries, Tomatillos, and a Tomato Trellis
The CobraHead Newsletter
October 2014

Hello, Friends of CobraHead,


We've had a couple of cold fronts come through Austin and had a couple of needed fall rain storms, but this week we still have days hitting the lower nineties. Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Noel has already reported a couple of light frosts.  


This is the first year that I harvested loofah. I reused the pea trellis from the spring to grow them. So far, the vine has produced two sponges, with several green ones still growing. I just left the gourds on the vine until they dried out and then peeled away the skin to expose the sponge inside. The immature gourds are edible, but I haven't tried cooking them yet.


Loofah needs 150 plus frost free days, so Noel would have difficulty growing them in Wisconsin. I got two seedlings from the Natural Gardener this year, but now that I've saved seeds, I'll try starting them myself next spring.


In this issue, Judy shares not just one, but two raspberry recipes; Noel shares the results of his latest tomato trellising adventure; and Judy also talks about tomatillos.


Have you grown or cooked loofah? Drop me a line at


Happy Gardening,


Raspberry Brownie Ala Mode

We had one of our better raspberry harvests and they are still coming in.  Judy talks about using them in this dessert and in a great smoothie, too.


Most gardeners and cooks aren't familiar with tomatillos.  Related to tomatoes (and Chinese lanterns), they are the basic ingredient of most green salsas. 

Tomato Trellis

Noel wrote earlier about his close-to-indestructible tomato trellis.  It performed wonderfully.  He's already got some improvements lined up for next year.

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
Raspberry Topped Brownie
Tomato Trellis Update

September brought Wisconsin a beautiful run of good weather, but October is getting pretty chilly.  We've been having a great harvest but food  production is slowing down and I'm working on getting some of the beds ready for next year.  


My fall ritual, when I'm on top of things, is to clean out and re-shape the beds, work in some compost, then cover the beds with a thick layer of leaves. When I do all these things I can get into the garden very early in spring and it's just a matter of raking the leaves off the beds into the paths and I'm ready to plant. Last fall, for a lot of reasons, I never covered the beds with leaves and as a result I spent a lot more time this year weeding than I would have liked to.


The extra weeding was a good thing. I've long thought that modern agriculture's war on weeds was illogical and now I'm totally convinced. Weeds can be easily controlled by shallow hand cultivation. The problem is that it's a labor intensive solution, and today's factory agriculture has no place for labor. Everything has to be done with machines and chemistry.


Our current economic system won't allow it, but there is a surplus of people who need meaningful work. In a truly sustainable world lots of people would be in the fields tending the crops, weeding, and providing themselves and all of us a much higher quality of food than most of us currently enjoy.


As this year's garden winds down, I have to say I'm very pleased with the food we produced. Almost everything we grew turned out well and in abundance. It's my intention next year to get a good harvest of really great melons, both the cantaloupe types and some big juicy watermelons. I've had good melons over the years but I've failed as often as I've succeeded. This year was no melon failure. I just never got any planted. So I'm going to make next year my breakout year to become a true watermelon man.


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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