Improve the drainage, tilth, and overall quality of your soil by mixing compost into your garden beds. Even better, double-dig your beds. This process adds organic matter and loosens the soil, making it easier for water and air to reach the roots of your plants. For instructions on double- digging, see "Start a Fresh Bed" in our March 2004 issue. Another option is to build raised beds and fill them with a high-quality, well-draining topsoil.
Whichever method you choose, allow the newly fluffed soil to settle for a couple of days before planting. And don't walk on your new bed; you'll compact it and undo all your hard work.
As for your packing peanuts, recycle them at a local store that provides packaging and shipping services. That's the most sensible way to get these nuts off your hands.