1. Do a Thorough Cleanup -- Remove fallen leaves, branches and any debris that could hinder proper drainage. You'll want to ensure your soil drains well for a healthy garden.
2. Prevent Pests -- Protect your garden from problem insects by establishing pest control measures early in the growing season. Here's a helpful series focused on dealing with common garden pests in an organic way.
3. Start Weeding -- Take the time now to pluck those weeds before they spread. A little effort early in the gardening season can mean less work later on.
4. Add Compost -- Organic matter enriches the soil and helps it retain water. Consider starting a compost pile to create your own supply. Add things like grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds.
5. Plan Your Plot -- Choose a level area that gets at least six hours of sun every day. In-ground beds provide the quickest and easiest way to get your garden started, but raised beds offer the best drainage and are easier on the back.
6. Pick Your Plants -- Check your plant hardiness zone, and use it to help you select the best plants for your climate. Find out the ideal time of year to plant the seeds or plants for each vegetable, herb or flower you want to grow.
Follow these six steps and you'll set the groundwork for a healthy, bountiful garden. Happy planting!

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