Is your vegetable garden really ready? A new product to our area, but has been proven to be a boon to the Southern states for many, many years is cotton burr compost. It has twice the strength of either mushroom or cattle manure compost. It's acidic which will lower the PH of our alkaline soils, it holds moisture like peat moss and will feed your plants naturally for the entire season. Work it into the soil 6"-8" down, plant your veggies or berry bushes and get your bushel baskets ready for the harvest. If you have plants that are stressed or in decline add a 3" layer on top under the drip line (from the trunk to the end of the branches), and the rain will take the nutrients to the root zone. You may have to wait for a few seasons for the plant to turn around, but 9 times out of 10, it will. You can find cotton burr compost at a small garden center in Wheaton. I call this product chicken soup for the soil.