"On days when your first thought is `It's too cold for gardening,' try some weeding. It's good exercise and it will help free your garden of many tough weeds later.

"Pull weeds whenever the ground is unfrozen but damp. The weeds usually pull out quite easily. As long as they haven't gone to seed, put pulled weeds in a stockpile for composting."One special warning about early weeding: Don't pull out the companion plants you'll be looking for later! Your garden beds may include many weed, wildflower and volunteer seedlings from last season's annuals and herbs. Learn to recognize the useful plants in their infancy."

Gardening Bookshelf is an occasional feature which excerpts advice from a nearly released how-to book.