Evaluate your lawn. Fall is the best time to renovate your lawn, so start investigating the cause of your trouble spots: Is water pooling because of poor drainage or low spots? Do you have patches where constant foot traffic has compressed the soil and now nothing grows? Is the overall quality of the lawn so poor it’s time to give up and move to the prairie? Find the causes and amend them before you spend gazillions on professional help. (Lawn care professionals, that is, not therapists.)

Nuke some herbs. Basil and dill respond well to microwave-drying by retaining their color and delicious smell. (Note: This process needs to be closely monitored, as leaves dry quickly and could burst into flames.) Strip leaves and spread on a microwave-safe plate. Nuke for two minutes on high. Fluff herbs and repeat. Then switch to one-minute intervals. If plate gets wet, move everything to another plate and keep going. As leaves get crisp, change to 30-second bursts until leaves crumble when pinched. When fully dry, rub them through a colander onto a place mat, then roll up the place mat and pour crushed herbs into airtight labeled/dated jars. Take old herbs you’re replacing and sprinkle them under the cat’s bed or the entryway rug as an air freshener.

Clean solar fountains. (This one from Karen in Collingswood.) The fountain should be emptied and scrubbed once a week to keep the pump clean and reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes. It does need to be brought in for the winter.

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.