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Evans Family Home: Finished for the Fall

This weekend (October 17-19) was our most successful so far. We had a great turnout including several residents of the Evans Home, a ton of garden club members, family and friends, and local the young marines youth group. We accomplished more than imaginable and the grounds are in excellent condition for wintering over until we come out to plant flowers, herbs and vegetables in the spring.
We've been putting off the removal of the weeds and overgrown liriopi in the second half of the flower bed up by the house as it presented a very daunting task. You could barely walk in between the plants much less begin to pull them out of the ground. The young marines  accepted the challenge and had the entire area (except for the stump of course) leveled and raked out within 2-3 hours. We've covered the bed with plastic for the winter and will return to plant cheerful flowers and fragrant herbs when spring arrives. 
That was a lot of work, but it was only the beginning. Thanks to 84 lumber, we had a whole truckload of lumber to use for our project. And thanks to my husband for cutting all the boards to length outside in the cold and dark the night before!
First we got all of the boards unloaded and lined up for painting, and then everyone grabbed a brush. Many hands make light work, and it wasn't long before all of the cedar was coated in linseed oil. Linseed oil and cedar team up to make a great healthy alternative to treated wood that will last a very long time in the great outdoors. It contains no harmful chemicals so it is safe to use in our vegetable garden.
While the overgrown flower garden was under attack, two other groups took care of building our compost bins. This project requires a lot of teamwork and everyone did their part. As you can see the compost bins came out perfectly. The sturdy kits were donated by Lee Valley Garden Tools and the lumber by 84 Lumber. These bins will be used to collect leftover food scraps, weeds, shredded leaves and other organic matter that will be turned into fertile compost for the vegetable garden year after year. Not only does it provide fertilizer for the garden, it cuts down on the amount of waste that gets hauled away to the landfill every week.
Compost bins are not the only thing we built that day. We also built nine frames for raised beds in our vegetable garden and filled them up with organic compost that the vegetables will thrive in. Three trips of dirt, a ton of shoveling, and just as much raking, and the place was starting to look like it might one day be a garden!
We lined the walkways with newspaper and landscaping cloth, to ensure that those terrible weeds and shrubs don't find their way back.
When all had been newspapered, we topped it off with a thick layer of mulch that's great for walking and kneeling on, and prevents mud from piling up everywhere. We also planted red hot pokers around at least three quarters of the fence. These flowers will not only look cool in the summer, they will help push the grass away from the fence so that it can't enter our weed-free area.
What a weekend! Thanks for everyone who's helped us make this garden a reality and we hope to see you again in the spring.