Do some “last-chance” gardening. This is almost the last occasion for planting lettuce, mustard, and basic greens if you want them big enough to feast on by Thanksgiving, (or even to survive the winter). Hard to think about that when the temps are still in the 60s!
Clear out the hostas. These were blasted by the heat followed by short-term drought, so just rake up all the leaves. Fill the newly naked space with leftover perennials and then mulch. While you’re digging, you might as well plant some daffodil, crocus, hyacinth, and tulip bulbs for spring color.
List your woes. It’s hard to solve our problems if we don’t admit to having them; so make a list of problem spots in the garden, and get them on a timetable for resolution. I’m talking about recurring challenges that keep getting put on the back burner when planting and harvesting take priority. In my yard, this is the grapevine I’ve been banging my head on for the last 10 years, the bird netting that needs to be moved each time I mow, the lawn mower blade that needs sharpening, the fence repair, the fig that’s been in a “temporary” spot for 15 years. You get the idea. Much of this also can be dealt with when the frenzy of planting slows down and the heat of summer takes a break. I call this my “fidget” list, and pull it out whenever I don’t feel like doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.