Eat a peach! Or an apple! Or a pear! This is about the last week for local peaches, but the orchards are pumping out the apples and pears — which is a good thing, because hardly any of my backyard apple trees produced anything. They all seem to have put out a lot of flowers, set a good number of fruit, and then, boom!, lost all their leaves overnight. Although the squirrels didn’t mind, the fruit never fattened up on the stressed-out trees. I’ll blame all this on the new grandbaby: I didn’t have time to do a very good job weeding this year, and dwarf trees don’t compete well when tall weeds block their air flow. The weeds also steal all their water when it doesn’t rain enough. Next year I promise to do a better job of mulching earlier in the season.

Shop for grass seed. Assuming you figured out why this year’s grass didn’t do well (and fixed the problems), it’s OK to try again. The kind of seed you buy really does matter— sunny mixes don’t do well in the shade, and vice versa; mixes vs. straight variety are always better.

Order your bulbs before all the good ones are gone. You can always by the old standards of daffodils, tulips and crocuses, but if you want anything a little spicier, get online or order some catalogs. Do it with a friend, because you’ll always order too many and that way you can spread the blame.

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.