garden starts

I've been enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we've had lately. I had planted some spinach in the fall and it just kept on growing all winter long. That was a nice surprise. We're also starting to plant out earlier than usual. I'm still a little wary of putting out too much because there is always a risk of frost right up until about mid-May here. All we've put out is several corn plants that Truman started as part of his science fair project, a few cucumber plants that Lucy started (the girl LOVES cucumbers), and I've direct-seeded basil, cilantro and swiss chard, all of which seem to enjoy a little bit cooler weather. Oh and my omnipresent black hollyhock.

But, tonight the temperatures are forecast to fall into the low 30's, so I had to protect the little darlings. I have a bunch of old milk gallon cloches I made three years ago. I covered the cucumber plants and basil with these.
(yes, we are fully engulfed in whirlybirds thanks to the neighbor's maple tree)

In related news, we are adding a third (heck, maybe a fourth or a fifth) raised bed to the side yard. David put this one together today. We are thinking of painting them, as low or no-VOC paint would have less impact than a stain, and we don't want them to go all gray like the ones we put up two years ago (background). Those are covered with rabbit-fence and look very much like actual cribs, but they work great. We had just moved it to the yard and Penny just had to 'lay down in the bed.' Eventually we want to enclose this area with a fence (only the area right behind the house is fenced for some odd reason) to give the kids and the four-legged kid more room to run. At the other end of the two old beds, we are going to attempt a sunforest - basically planting sunflowers in a square or circle with a space in the center. The idea is that once the sunflowers are taller than the kids, you can tie some of them together at the top and it creates a natural playhouse.

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