Sweep your lawn. If you haven’t already done this, get all the non-grass stuff off your lawn so the grass can grow. Recently my sister inherited a lawn sweeper, a very simple, low-tech, low-carbon-footprint machine that uses rotating brushes to sweep leaves and small sticks into a bag. Once we replaced its bag (the original was stolen by a groundhog to line its tunnel -- don’t ask), it did an excellent job of picking up all the detritus left from last fall, and we all got in our steps for the day. Or, if the leaves aren’t that heavy, you could run them over with the lawn mower, then add them to the compost bin. Speaking of which ...

Clean out your compost bin. If all you’ve been doing all winter is dumping garbage in the top end of it, it’s time to give that baby a stir. Assuming you can open one side of it, or even remove the whole structure, rake everything recognizable off the top until you reach the stuff that actually looks like soil. That’s what gets incorporated into your garden beds as you get planting-- it’s the aim of this whole science experiment, after all. Tidy up or rebuild your structure; put all the recognizable stuff raked off the top and put it back in, now as the base. Add a shovel full of garden soil, then start layering your greens (household food scraps and/or weeds that are already trying to overrun the spring garden) and browns (the old leaves you just swept off your lawn).

Buy up all the leftover Easter plants. They are really cheap after the holiday and can be planted in the garden, which I have declared now free of frost danger.

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.