1. Review spring bulb catalogs and place your orders. If you're like me, just deciding between the hundreds of dazzling varieties can take several days. Bulbs are great for adding color in spring and chasing away the winter doldrums. Don't forget about lilies. These summer-flowering bulbs prefer fall planting, too.
2. Visit farmers' markets for your favorites and to try new varieties. Try a new fruit or a new variety of a standard vegetable, like a white eggplant or a blue potato. Many specialty crops are hard to find in the grocery store but plentiful at farmers' markets. You'll get new ideas for next year's veggie garden.
3. Plan a trip to see the fall colors. The annual fall foliage spectacle begins this month in the northern U.S. Local news and national weather channels often announce the best locations for this season's show. So take out your map and go catch some color.