You would rather not focus on the rapid closure of the summer season — I would not either — but it is a reality that must be faced.

The question is how can we best spend the remaining days of summer left to us in the most productive manner? I would suggest that we write two lists. The first deals with the day-to-day chores that move us through the summer. The second list is for the projects that will move our property into an increasingly more logical, attractive and comfortable place to inhabit.

Items in the first list start off with on time harvesting of the fruits and vegetables that are and will be ripening from now to hard frost. In general, fruits should be allowed to ripen on the plant. Sugar levels increase as fruits reach full ripening. Vegetables are, in general, tastiest when they are small. Squash become squishy bags of water. Root crops become woody and lose their crisp crunchiness. With leafy crops, the smaller the better, so plant them frequently. There are exceptions to every generalization, but try harvesting your crops at different stages and discover what works best for you.

Weed maintenance needs to be on everyone’s short list. From this day forward, weeds will be setting seeds. A single weed can produce up to half a million seeds that will be disrupting your gardens for the next seven to 10 years. Cut, pull and cultivate those weeds out of your sight immediately.

Weeds in seed should not be placed in the compost pile. Few compost heaps of homeowners will heat sufficiently to inactivate weed seed. Some grassy perennial weeds develop extensive underground stems that are capable of rapidly colonizing new locations. Pokeweed is in berry. Japanese knotweed (Japanese bamboo) is in flower. Both need rigorous attention.

You should be taking weekly pictures, group and panoramic, of your gardens and the property in totality. Why? It is amazing what is seen when we look through a viewfinder to frame a shot. Suddenly, we become aware of compositions, both good and bad, that need to be repeated or corrected. Taking pictures weekly provides a record, which may or may not be supplemented with written notes, and can be an invaluable guide to your future designs. Pictures and notes provide perspective and years of experience to your plans.

Is that all that should be on your short list? No. The items enumerated will differ depending on the composition of the garden and the wishes of the gardener. Does your garden contain tall asters, goldenrods, sunflowers and other tall fall flowering plants? If so, supporting plants with stakes and ties would be on your list.

The second list is planned to move us through the fall, winter and into next spring. We will look at it next week.

Paul Rogers is a correspondent for The Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette.