Things to do in April: Soil, Compost and Mulch
□ Don't work soil too early . . . in the spring when it is still wet. To test, squeeze the soil into a ball. If the ball falls apart when gently tapped, the soil is dry enough to work. Avoid walking on wet soil as compaction results. Preparing garden beds in the fall or gardening in raised beds both allow earlier access to the garden in wet, early spring weather.
□ Make new garden beds . . . by smothering grass or weeds with layers of cardboard or thick layers of newspaper; then put mulch on top.
□ Remove finished compost . . . from the bottom of the pile. Screen it to remove twigs and large chunks, then use it as a topdressing in garden beds. Turn and moisten remaining partially broken-down contents to aerate and get things cooking.
□ Clean up garden beds . . . by cutting back old growth, pruning, dividing plants, etc. Top-dress with an all-natural organic fertilizer, according to label directions. Add a layer of finished compost. Wait to apply mulch until the soil warms thoroughly.