Clean up Plant Camp. When it's 90-plus degrees with 90 percent humidity, it's hard to imagine that winter is around the corner. But it really is time to start readying your houseplants for their journey back indoors. Start sorting through the groupings, and pull out anything that is rotting because of all the rain. Some can be saved by moderate or drastic pruning, while others need to go right into the compost bin.

Get ready for Labor Day. Here's my checklist: Give the lawn a nice mowing to make it look like you've been taking care of it all summer; dump out any water storage, buckets, or birdbaths days before your party, so the mosquitoes move next door; trim any low-hanging branches or vines, so they aren't in the faces of wandering guests; string twinkle lights to mark the edges of the yard; fill in any dangerous holes with wood chips, or place heavy furniture over them to avoid mishaps.

Get the vegetable garden under control (which in this tropical weather is getting a little out of hand). Pull out anything that looks diseased or full of bugs, and dispose of these in a trash bag, not the compost pile. Keep your veggies picked, since the goal of the plant is to set seed and then retire for the season. This is especially true of wandering vines, which tend to sneak off into the weeds and ripen up one main fruit at the expense of all the smaller ones. Watch for "blight" on tomatoes; the rot on the bottom of the fruit (blossom end rot) is not actually a disease but a malfunction caused by lack of calcium, which is ultimately caused by uneven watering while the fruit is forming. Pick off the affected fruit, water well, mulch, and hope for the best.

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society ( and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (