Dig potatoes. Dying vines are generally a dead giveaway that your potatoes are ready to dig up. If your soil is very soft, it’s really satisfying to pull all of these out of the dirt by hand; this is especially fun with kids. If your soil is not like that, a fork is best since it pries the potatoes up out of the ground without chopping them in half like a shovel might do.
Go for the gold. Goldenrod is particularly beautiful this time of year, and deserves to be planted in our perennial gardens as an excellent way to attract pollinators. Unfortunately it gets a bad rap because it blooms at exactly the same time as ragweed, which has totally inconspicuous flowers but highly allergy-producing pollen. Might as well blame cinnamon spice coffee, which makes its appearance about the same time.
Plan a fall workday. My garden always looks bad in the summer because I spend so much time snooping in everyone else’s. Find an excuse to invite others over to help get things in order: “Dig and divide” (dig perennials and take half home); “Help me Kondo my shed and take home some garden tools”; or even “Come revel in my pathetic garden and I will feed you beer and pizza!” These come-ons work even better if you have a garden buddy, and can spend one day in your garden and one in his or hers.