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State Sen. Dan Zumbach, a Republican who represents Buchanan, Delaware, Jones, and Linn counties, spoke to Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon on behalf of his son-in-law, whose family was seeking approval to open an 11,600-head cattle feedlot outside of Zumbach’s legislative district.

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Invariably, soil needs a boost. The solution is simple: organic matter. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost, decayed leaves, dry grass clippings or old manure. If you’re digging the soil, till the organic matter into the soil. If you decide not to dig or are working with an established bed you can’t dig, leave the organic matter on the surface, and it will work its way into the soil in a few months.

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Break your garden plan into several easy-to-accomplish steps. You’ll be less likely to spend impulsively on cool-but-unnecessary equipment or kill the plants you bought because you didn’t have time to plant them. Be realistic about your space and goals; do you really have time this weekend to prep your garden bed and plant 60 seedlings (that’s 10 six-packs of flowers and vegetables)? Do you have room for 60 seedlings? Spreading out the work will make things easier on your wallet too.

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