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After a cold, wet and grey week it feels almost like summer outside this weekend. Saturday was about 70F/21C and today is 76F/24C! Rain followed by warmth and sun is going to jumpstart all things growing. I have tulip leaves pushing up through the mulch and a few eager perennials too. Next weekend will see me outdoors cutting back all the dead perennial stalks and clearing mulch off the low growing plants. I saw lots of people out in their gardens today while I was torturing Bookman with a bike ride, but it is too windy this afternoon to be out. My allergies were bothering me before the bike ride, they are worse now. To be outdoors getting dust and leaf mold up my nose right now would send me over the top. So, perhaps there will be a nice evening during the week to start work outdoors. If not, nothing horrible will happen if I don’t get to it until Saturday.

The bike ride this morning was wonderful. I don’t know how far we went because I accidentally hit the wrong button on my bike app and poof! our whole ride about three-quarters of the way through disappeared. We took some bike trails we had never been on before and took some wrong turns onto other trails and had to backtrack, so my guess is we rode 24 (38.6km), maybe 25 (40km) miles. The ride was originally mapped at around 23.5 miles (37.8km). The light breeze blowing when we began our ride soon turned into a 20 mph/32kmh wind. And it seemed like we were always riding into it. There were a few times it blew as a cross wind, which made for some interesting riding when it would gust. If you were watching me and didn’t know better, you might have thought I was riding while intoxicated! Bookman was not too keen on the wind but I kind of liked it even though it made my nose run even more because of my allergies. It was a good opportunity to practice balance and get bonus workout points.

But back to the garden. Most of the seeds I’ve been planting since the beginning of March are doing well. The peppers didn’t germinate in profusion, but there are some and some is better than none, right? All the seed starting is pretty much done except for sunflowers and the only reason we start those ahead of time is because the squirrels dig up the seeds. Those I will start next weekend. And I just realized, that if the weather continues warm this week, and it looks like it might, I will be able to seed lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach and other cool weather veggies in the garden next weekend. Woo! I had better figure out what my seeds are and where they are going this week!

Bookman will have a couple different contractors out during the week to look at our garage and give us estimates for tearing it down. We were out measuring today to get an idea of how big the space is so I can figure out how many shrubs to purchase at the plant sale for planting along the fence we will be putting up along the alley. The space is so much bigger than I thought it was! It looks tiny with a big one-and-a-half-car garage on the site, but take that down, replace it with a 7.5 x 7 foot shed (2.3 x 2m) and a chicken coop and run that will be about 5 x 10 feet (1.5 x 3m) and Bookman guesstimates we will have about 200 square feet (61m) of additional garden space! Squee!

It won’t all be planted though. There will be a gravel path between the shed doors and the gate in the fence and there will be gravel around the chicken coop for ease of access and what-not. However, there will still be a lot of additional garden to grow in. Do I need to tell you how much fun I am having planning this space? I am calling it the Chicken Garden because I am designing it so the chickens can free-range in this little garden without having access to the bigger vegetable garden. It is going to take a lot of work because I expect after being buried under concrete for sixty years, the soil is going to be pretty compacted and fairly dead. Roaming chickens will certainly help improve it much faster, however.

I have also decided that when we are building the coop over the summer, we will build it with a green roof. Mine won’t be exactly like this but you get the idea. I borrowed a book from the library called Small Green Roofs to help us figure out how to build it. The roof will have to support the extra weight of all that soil, which requires some extra structural pieces. In addition to looking pretty, a green roof will keep the coop cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. How fun is that going to be?

Can you tell how excited I am about all the planning? The actual doing will start soon. Stayed tuned!

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