It’s a bit early to plant, but you urban gardeners who just can’t wait can do a few things in March to get your garden off to a good start. Chicago has had a mild winter (thankfully!), but it was dry. The lack of snowfall in 2006 coupled with last years drought conditions means the soil needs moisture badly. Irrigation of your planting beds is muy importante this year, so that’s first on the list. Things to do now: &bull Water, water, water. (unless it gets rainy, of course) &bull Cultivate the soil. &bull Incorporate compost. &bull Push any perennials back into the soil that have heaved upward during the winter. &bull Fertilize existing trees and shrubs. &bull Prune damaged or diseased wood from existing trees and shrubs. &bull Sow seeds indoors now for planting later this spring. The best part: Right now is the perfect time to dream up your master plan. Try this database from the Chicago Botanic Garden to search for the best plants to use in Illinois (we're Zone 5) by color, exposure, size and soil.