There are plenty available everywhere, and they are the quickest way to add color to a container or flower bed. Because these members of the violet family will peter out when the hot weather hits, make sure you buy them on the younger side - just starting to break into bloom, with bright green leaves. Don't be afraid to sample the tiny-flower varieties, as they like to drop seeds as the flowers ripen and will return next year.
Hold the tomatoes! Despite their availability in the box stores, and the ridiculous warm weather, it really is too soon to plant them. Yes, the 30-day forecast calls for no particularly cold days, but it's the night temps and, more important, the soil temps that make tomatoes happy. When the nights hold steady at 55 or above, the soil will be warm enough to support growth of the plants. While you're waiting, plant some lettuce in that space. It likes cool ground, and you can still be harvesting that when you finally put in your baby tomatoes.
Rake the lawn. Use the grass rake (the stiff one) to clean up winter debris - which goes into the bottom of the newest compost pile. Then be sure to get rid of clumps of matted leaves because they will smash newly emerging blades of grass (they go into the compost, too). If you can get the mower to run on the old gas you forgot to use up last fall, give the garlic that's already four inches higher than the grass a good thrashing.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestone