Cool the soil to plant cabbage. Seedlings of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and other cabbage family members are available now for sale at nurseries and maybe even the box stores. They like to mature when soil and night temperatures are cool, which makes it tough in mid-August, but if we don’t do it now, they won’t have time to grow up before Christmas. (Climate change at its finest.) If we can’t do much about the night temps, we can at least cool off the soil a little bit: First, water beds well, then cover them with boards or several layers of corrugated cardboard for a few days to protect them from the sun. Peel back the boards, clean up any slugs that might have taken up residence, plant the seedlings, and mulch with salt hay. Keep watered until plants respond and start to grow.

Watch for hornworms. These monstrous green caterpillars will devour whole tomato plants almost overnight. If your plants are suddenly skeletons, look for the worms or their poop, and get those munchers off -- with your fingers if you’re brave, or pliers if you’re not. They’re as big as your thumb, so dispose of them as you see fit. If you should see any of them covered with little white cocoons, leave these alone — they’re being used to incubate parasitic wasps and will be dead soon anyway.

Keep score. I’m sitting at the Philly Folk Festival, and the spotted lanternflies have arrived. The Extension Service provided us with some excellent educational materials to distribute to campers, but most impactful were the temporary tattoos of the adults. Right now my kill count is seven, and I’m running out of arm space. Much more effective methods of preventing their spread as you leave a campsite are to NOT BRING HOME ANY FIREWOOD and to run your vehicle through a drive-thru car wash to deal with any lurkers on the underside of your car or camper.

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society ( and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.