Edibles To Plant In Late Summer

A gardener’s work is never done. Even though August is the high point for the summer vegetable garden, with tomatoes, peppers, corn and never-ending zucchini rewarding you for your hard work in the spring, it’s time to start thinking about what vegetables you want for fall.

Here are some edibles you can plant now that will extend your vegetable growing season well into the fall months. Some, like carrots and radishes, are familiar spring options that will grow quickly and help fill in any bare patches left when you pull out your spent summer favorites. For others, such as kale and turnips, fall is the optimal planting time and frost is a plus. If you’re in a warm-winter climate, vegetables such as chard might even keep producing well into winter.

These are cool-season vegetables. And just as in the spring, there are certain growing conditions you need to take into account. If you live in a cold-winter climate, you’ll need to plant so most of these can be harvested before the first frost, rather than planning your planting time for after the last frost. If you live where frost may come as early as September, you will want to look for varieties that mature quickly or transplants.

You also won’t need to wait for the soil to warm up. Instead, you’ll want to be sure that the soil isn’t too hot for seeds and seedlings and be sure they get plenty of water. High temperatures and direct, hot sunshine might also fry these plants, so give them some shelter until they are firmly settled in and the weather is cool.


Fall is the perfect time to add leafy greens to the menu, and spinach is the perfect fall green to include in your garden. Choose between the flat-leaf and crinkly types, or plant a mixture. It can be harvested within a month, so if your first frost date is later in the season, sow or set out transplants every two weeks to extend the crop.


Lettuce quickly bolts in warm weather, which can make putting together that summer staple, the BLT, problematic. But plant it again in the late summer, preferably where it will be a change, and you’ll have another crop in time to pair the leaves with your late-ripening tomatoes. You’ll also have plenty for fall salads.


While hardy chard may have survived the summer heat to provide you with some leafy greens, adding more to your garden will give you a beautiful crop for a fall harvest if your current plants are fading or have been completely used up. Plant it earlier rather than later for the most prolific crop (except in warmer climates, where chard may very well last until spring). And choose some variety: Green is good, but yellow, red and purple will mix well with other fall colors.


Perhaps Peter Rabbit loved carrots because they were always available and always tasty. Sow seeds every couple of weeks, carrots do best when not transplanted, and you’ll be able to enjoy their fresh flavor on a continuing basis.


Radishes are another fast grower, perfect as garden fill-ins. You can start harvesting some varieties almost immediately, and they’ll add a sharpness to your culinary creations. Plant a variety and sow seeds every two weeks to ensure a continual crop.


Kale loves fall and winter. It thrives with frost and even loves the snow, tasting better and better the colder it gets. Best of all, it’s highly ornamental, adding some color and liveliness when the rest of the garden is starting to fade. Plant this superfood where you can enjoy its great looks.


Parsnips are the classic fall root crop. While they’re often often overlooked, they’re sweetly creamy and good on their own or mixed with turnips or potatoes. They’re even sweeter if you wait until after the first frost to harvest.


Turnips are yet another crop that’s best after it’s hit by some frost, making fall the prime planting time. They’re a staple in many a cook’s fall repertoire, and their leafy greens can even be harvested before the frost hits. As for the turnip roots, just be sure you pick them before they’re too large.


Members of the onion family do well in colder weather, and leeks are no exception, relishing the cooler fall climate. However, unless you live in a warmer climate, you’ll need to plant them quickly; they need at least three to four months to mature. Still, they do like the cold, so it may be worth giving them a try, if only for the flavor they’ll add to your holiday dishes.


Fennel is one of those vegetables that many people aren’t quite sure what to do with. But this classic Italian staple is a fall standout. The beautiful leafy foliage is a nice foil to the harder edges of other garden favorites, such as kale and leeks.

Gardeners in warm-winter climates will have the most success with these plants, as fennel likes long stretches of cool weather and mild winters.

Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage is less fussy than regular cabbage and perfectly happy when the weather is cooler. Choose from Napa cabbage, pak choy, or bok choy, or try the two of them together. In colder climates look for varieties that have a shorter maturation date, around two months.


It’s not always easy to grow cauliflower, as it’s fussy and prone to pest and diseases, but if you’re willing to give it a try, it’s a pretty plant whose edible head will be a welcome addition to your dining room fare. Plant cauliflower by midsummer in cold-weather climates and by late summer where winters are milder.


Keys To Drought Tolerant Gardens

There are lots of ways to create a beautiful garden that won’t require an irrigation system or daily watering. Especially when water restrictions come in for the end of summer. From soil preparation to plant choices, here are some suggestions for making your garden drought-tolerant and self-sustainable.

Creating gardens tailored to withstand hot, dry weather — is something people are increasingly taking into consideration.

Here are a few drought-resistant gardening tips.

Prepare Your Soil

Professionals underline the importance of soil preparation. Organic matter - compost, manure, garden waste or organic fertilizer — is key for a soil that will be as nutrient-rich and self-sufficient as possible.

Add Mulch

Simply having good soil to start with is not enough. Protecting that soil is just as important. Mulch, mulch, mulch, whether bark or gravel, it helps slow evaporation of water from the soil. The key is to remove bare ground, high plant densities with varying rooting depths will enable good soil moisture year-round, as the soil won’t be exposed to the sun.

Practice Tough Love

If you “spoil” your plants by watering them generously, they’ll come to expect and need regular drinks, the experts say.

If you treat them “mean” from the get-go, they’ll learn to survive better. Plants get “lazy” because they’re not used to holding the water. Whereas if they’ve always had to put out roots to find water, they’ll become more robust for hotter, dryer summers. However, when starting plants off, they may need generous watering to help the roots establish.

A good soaking now and then is better for creating self-sufficient plants than daily watering. It helps them to really get as independent as possible, to get their roots down looking for their own source, rather than looking near the surface.

Making the plants work hard to survive sounds harsh, but if you train them to the hose, they will never deal with a drought. Obviously, if they’re actually dying, then you’ll need to step in — but consider their location and habitat and don’t be afraid to move things if you realize they’re in the wrong place.

Harvest Rainwater

It’s not just about watering plants more sparingly; it’s also about what to water them with. Everyone should have a rain barrel or water cistern.  They don’t have to be unsightly. “You can get water [cisterns] that have planters on top of them, and they can easily be made into a garden feature.

Tip: Before you purchase or install a rain barrel, be sure to check local bylaws.

Choose the Right Plants

Do plenty of research before letting yourself run free in the plant nursery. It is important to understand native landscapes, and then emulate the plant communities in such as way as to suit them best. This leads to less watering and maintenance and much longer-lived plantings.

As a general rule, plant silver-leaved plants, such as lavender as silver reflects the sunlight, and this feature is often a good sign a plant will be drought-tolerant. Plants that are small and have hairy leaves, retain water, and are more self-sustainable. A plant with all three — silver, small-leaved and hairy — is a great combination.


Plant Mediterranean herbs — thyme, sage, rosemarey etc — that can survive with a lot less watering.

Dry conditions in full shade can be trickier when it comes to planting so talking to a landscape architect might be helpful

Minimalist — and often thirsty — landscape design is on the way out. Instead, we should all be enjoying the naturalness of our gardens more and potentially tidying and primping them less.

One thing we could all do is reduce the amount of fossil fuel-based activities, such as hedge-cutting and mowing, that we do. Instead, let your grass grow longer while encouraging any wildflowers within the turf to bloom. 


Watering Tips For Edible Gardens

Watering is essential for any landscape, but it’s at the top of the to-do list if you’re growing an edible garden. Most edibles require regular watering. If you live where summer rainstorms are common, Mother Nature might provide enough to keep everything happy. If you live in a dry climate, or are facing drought conditions, you’ll need to do more if you plan to keep growing. No matter your climate, there are some watering guidelines that apply to any edible garden.

Water Just the Essentials

Granted, you don’t have that option when you’re relying on summer rains. But when you do water, make sure you focus just on the plants. This has the bonus of discouraging weeds; plus, sidewalks and patios certainly aren’t going to be growing and don’t need to be wet.

Water in the Morning

Try to give plants a drink at the beginning of the day. Consider it your garden’s morning caffeine jolt. Being hydrated helps plants combat the heat of the day. It also gives the foliage time to dry in the sun, which helps prevent diseases.

If a morning watering session doesn’t fit your schedule, your next best choice is the evening, especially once things have begun to cool down. Be sure not to get foliage too wet, especially if your edibles are prone to fungus. At mid-day, water only the plants that are wilting significantly.

Water Slowly

Spraying a full blast on a garden is more likely to wash away the dirt than provide the plants with enough water. Take it easy, and let the water fall gently on the soil and plants.

Water Consistently

Plants do best when they’re on a regular schedule rather than a seesaw approach of overwatering followed by droughtlike conditions.

Water Less Often But Deeply

The water needs to reach the deepest roots, which can be as shallow as 6 inches for radishes, around 1 foot for most vegetables, up to 2 feet for deeper-rooted plants like tomatoes and even deeper for fruit trees.

The general guideline is to water about 1 inch a week, but it can vary depending your plants, climate conditions, dry and windy versus still and humid, and soil type. Insert a thin rod or screwdriver into the soil next to the plants, be careful around the roots, an hour after watering to determine how deep the water has reached.

Know Your Plants’ Water Needs

As a rule, most edibles need regular watering and aren’t happy if the soil dries out too much in between. But that’s not true of all of them, so you may want to put some plants, such as herbs and even tomatoes, on a separate schedule in which you water less. At the same time, other plants, such as cole crops, might need extra watering sessions.

Know Your Soil Type

The ideal garden soil is a rich, easy-to-work loam that is porous enough for water to easily, but slowly seep down, yet heavy enough to keep the water at the root level. If you’re lucky to have this soil, rejoice. The rest of us are jealous.

Sandy soil is just what it sounds like — very loose and porous. The good news is that sandy soil absorbs water easily. The bad news is that it also allows the water to quickly pass by the roots and drain away. If you have sandy soil, you’ll want to amend it. You’ll probably need to water more often to be sure the soil near the roots stays wet.

With heavy clay soil, you’ll water less often but you’ll need to make other adjustments. Because clay soil absorbs water very slowly, it’s easy for the water to run off before it penetrates the ground. The solution is to keep the flow low, almost a trickle if the soil is very dense. Also, try watering in two blocks — water for 5 to 10 minutes, turn it off for 20 minutes, then water again for 5 to 10 minutes. This allows the soil time to absorb the water.

Add Mulch

Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and prevent evaporation while also deterring weeds. Once you’ve finished planting, add mulch around the beds. Just be careful not to put it too close to the plant stems or tree trunks.

Beyond the Basics

Add Watering Basins 

Other options will also help you water efficiently and effectively. By filling watering basins around plants, especially fruit trees, you let the water slowly permeate the soil and reach the deepest roots without having to stand there holding a hose. Above-ground bags that fit around trees are becoming more common and allow you to do the same thing, especially for newly planted trees.

Consider covering larger watering basins with decorative rock. The stones allow water to permeate the soil while protecting the trees from lawnmower blades and adding a finishing touch to the landscape.

Create Garden Furrows

The traditional furrow alongside a row of vegetables serves the same purpose as a watering basin, allowing water to slowly reach the roots. Keep the furrow level so the water doesn’t pool at one end.

For both watering basins and furrows, be sure the water doesn’t sit directly against the stem of the plant or trunk of the tree. Leave a small dirt barrier between the two.

Plant What You Need, and Group Edibles

This applies especially if you want only a few plants, not an entire market garden. Create a separate herb garden, and consider planting beans, corn and squash together. The beans use the stalks for support, and the squash leaves keep insects at bay. Or keep shallow-rooted plants, like lettuce and spinach in the same garden bed.

Plant in Blocks 

This configuration, as opposed to long rows, allows you to water more efficiently as well, with more water going to the plants and less being lost to evaporation. Mixing veggies and flowers, edible or not, can also help attract beneficial insects and deter problem pests.

Monitor Your Garden’s Moisture Level 

If summer rains are providing enough water to keep your plants happy, turn off an automated system or forgo a scheduled watering session. An old-fashioned rain gauge is one way to keep track of weekly rainfall.

For an automated watering system, you might want a rain sensor. Gardening supply stores, home improvement stores, nurseries and catalogs are good sources for easy-to-install sensors that can measure rainfall and turn off an irrigation system automatically.

Water Most When The Plant Is Growing 

Cut back at other times. Most edibles need the most water when they’re flowering or fruiting. Cut back or stop altogether once the edibles have finished producing. The exception would be perennials or fruit trees, but even for those, you can cut back significantly when the plants are resting.


Plants Not To Grow With Alergies

Do you love your garden but find yourself inside looking out at it, rather than spending time in it, thanks to allergies or asthma? The secret to enjoying being in your garden is to find plants that give you the look you want and that are also far less likely to cause problems.

Not everyone is allergic to the same thing, and allergic reactions can range from the symptoms of hay fever to rashes, hives and blisters. Some popular annuals, perennials and shrubs are more likely to trigger allergic reactions than other plants. 

Below, we call out those plants and offer ideas for replacing them.

Look at a garden in full bloom, especially in spring and summer, and you might immediately think that all those flowers must mean an allergy nightmare. For most allergy sufferers, though, the flowers aren’t really the problem. Some of the most gaudy plants are the least likely to cause problems because their color is designed to attract insects, which then carry the pollen from plant to plant.

It’s often the less showy plants you need to watch out for. They’re more likely to rely on the wind to do their pollination, and pollen carried by wind is more likely to affect humans.

This approach isn’t foolproof, of course. Some familiar plants with favorite flowers are some of the worst offenders. Other plants, such as goldenrod, may be thought to be a problem but are actually a good choice.

Tip: Opt for female plants. Also, look for sterile or hypoallergenic hybrids.

Love-Lies-Bleeding - Amaranthus caudatus

Love-lies-bleeding is known for its drooping red flower clusters that grace gardens in fall and also stun in flower arrangements. The pollen from those flowers, though, can be a major irritant for hay fever sufferers.

Plant Alternative: Chenille plant-Acalypha hispida

If you’re looking for a replacement flower, consider the chenille. Its long, bright crimson flower clusters are equally dramatic. A chenille plant wants full sun or partial shade and regular water. In colder climates, grow chenille plant in a container and bring it in during the winter — it’s a favorite houseplant. It’s also a good choice for a greenhouse.

Castor Bean - Ricinus communis

The fast-growing castor bean has become a popular choice as a statement plant or an anchor in a tropical-inspired garden. It grows big, it grows quickly, and it can be treated as an annual. Unfortunately, all parts of the plant are toxic. The pollen can cause an allergic reaction, as can contact with the sap. It’s also very invasive, another reason to keep it out of your garden.

Plant Alternative: Hibiscus - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

If you want something that stands out, with the added advantage of plenty of flowers, think about growing Hibiscus instead. It can reach heights of 8 to 15 feet and spreads 5 to 8 feet wide. You can also find dwarf varieties now. Flowers may last only a day, but it’s a prolific bloomer, and its flowers attract birds and butterflies. Provide full sun and regular water throughout the growing season. Pinch out the old wood in spring. Keep an eye out for aphids.

Chamomile - Matricaria recutita

A herb celebrated as a calming influence could be an allergy trigger. It turns out that chamomile’s pollen can contribute to hay fever symptoms, the leaves and flowers can cause skin reactions, and drinking it can also be a problem if you’re highly allergic. That’s because chamomile is related to ragweed.

Plant Alternatives- Woolly Thyme - Thymus pseudolanuginosus

If you want a ground cover woolly thyme, is a fast-growing option. It’s happy everywhere from underfoot to spilling over a wall, and it is known for attracting butterflies, bees and beneficial insects. Small pink flowers appear in summer.

Woolly thyme takes full sun, though you may need to provide some light shade in the hottest summer regions, and needs little water once established. 

There are also two good options for those who want to brew herb-infused teas. One popular choice is English lavender - Lavandula angustifolia. There are any number of English lavenders, and they’re known for their purple flowers, fragrance and culinary use.

This evergreen shrub generally blooms from late spring into summer, but some varieties may have repeat blooms later in the summer. It attracts butterflies and birds.

Plant lavender in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. It’s drought-tolerant once established, needing only moderate water. 

You can also grow Mint - Mentha spp.. The problem with mint isn’t that it’s hard to grow; it’s that it’s a challenge to keep in check. If you decide to grow mint, plant it in a container without any cracks or in a location where you don’t mind if it spreads.

Two good choices for tea are peppermint - M. x piperita and spearmint - M. spicata, though other options are available. Plant in full sun or partial shade. They prefer moist and well-drained soil, though they can thrive in other locations. They need almost no care while growing. Pick the leaves before the plant flowers.

Daisies, Especially Oxeye Daisy - Leucanthemum vulgare, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum

Oxeye daisy (aka common daisy), another ragweed cousin, is one of the most popular summer daisies. It can also be a problem for allergy sufferers. People react to the pollen, leaves, flowers and even extracts derived from it, resulting in hay fever, rashes, hives and other unpleasant symptoms.

Plant Alternative: Phlox - Phlox paniculata 

If you’re looking for white blooms in summer, fall phlox is a more allergy-friendly choice. Its fragrant flowers bloom throughout the summer in shades from white to pink, rose, red and lavender.

Once you’ve set out the plants, pinch back the tips to encourage them to branch. Provide good air circulation since fall phlox is prone to mildew.

Jasmine - Jasminum spp.

It’s hard not to love sweet-smelling jasmine, a fast-growing and rapidly spreading climber that’s filled with flowers — unless you suffer from allergies, that is. The fragrant flowers, thanks to the pollen, can cause sneezing fits that will drive you indoors.

Plant Alternative: Sweet Peas - Lathyrus spp.

If you want a fragrant climber but don’t want to risk allergies or a plant taking over your garden, try sweet pea. They don’t have white flowers and may not bloom for as long a stretch, but when it comes to announcing the arrival of spring and adding a sweet fragrance to the garden, they’re hard to beat.

Grow annual sweet pea - L. odoratus in all climates. Plant in full sun in well-amended soil; it can be fussy. Provide regular water and deadhead or pick for bouquets regularly to keep blooms coming. You’ll need to provide protection from birds and support for vining types. You’ll have an amazing choice of annual sweet peas to choose from: bushes, vines, heirloom, early-flowering, spring-flowering and summer-flowering.

You can also grow perennial or evergreen sweet pea - L. latifolius. It blooms all summer and can handle a more arid climate, even naturalizing. Provide moderate water.

Juniper - Juniperus spp.

Many people come back from a pruning session with their juniper bushes only to discover that their hands are reacting badly. This landscaping standby may be a favorite, but both its pollen and contact with the plant itself can cause hay fever and skin issues. If you are determined to grow juniper even if it bothers you, look for female plants.

Plant Alternative: Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis 

This is a staple of Mediterranean gardens. It’s both fragrant and useful for cooking. Rosemary can be upright, bushy, weeping or creeping and it spreads readily. It can easily be shaped, and it attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Plant rosemary in full sun and in well-draining soil. Provide little to moderate water and not much fertilizer. Pinch back the tips to keep it in the shape you want. 

Ragweed - Ambrosia spp.

Of course, most people would never knowingly grow ragweed. It deserves its reputation as the main cause of hay fever. All species can cause strong allergic reactions. Unfortunately, there is seemingly no place where it won’t happily grow.

It can be pretty, though, as it blooms in late summer and fall. So if you like the look, but don’t want the allergies, you do have a substitute.

Plant Alternatives: Goldenrod - Solidago spp. 

Falsely painted with the same pollen-laden brush as ragweed, it’s since been proven that goldenrod’s pollen is carried by insects, and the plant is no more likely to cause allergies than many other plants recommended to hay fever sufferers. Plus, what other plant will give you those waves of yellow plumes in late summer and fall?

You can choose between native goldenrods and goldenrod hybrids, which tend to be shorter and bloom longer. They’re also happy in soils that are less rich, and they need almost no care once they’re established. They attract birds and butterflies. Goldenrods do best in full sun to partial shade with moderate water. They’re also seldom troubled by pests or diseases.

Deadhead often to keep plants from freely reseeding. Reseeding isn’t as much of a problem with hybrids, but they also won’t reproduce true to their parent plant and should be propagated by division or stem cuttings. Cut down foliage in the winter or leave in place for interest. Divide plants in the spring.

If you’re still unsure about goldenrod but love the idea of yellow blooms in the summer, why not try Daylilies - Hemerocallis hybrids. These adaptable perennials are hardy, take full sun except in the hottest climates and require almost no effort to grow.

Dayliles generally grow 2½ to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Many are known for blooming in late spring and early summer, but there are later-bloom hybrids available as well. There are even reblooming types, such as the Starburst series. You can choose among evergreen, semievergreen and deciduous plants too.

Plant whenever the ground can be worked, including winter in mild-climate areas. They’ll do best with well-drained soil, but they can handle any soil type. Provide regular water from spring through autumn. Divide every few years in fall or early spring if they become crowded.

Sunflower - Helianthus annuus

These flowers of summer are also the allergy triggers of summer. Both the pollen and the seeds can cause problems, just as they do with their cousins chamomile, oxeye daisy and ragweed. Some people even react to the leaves when they touch them or brush against them.

Plant Alternative: You don’t have to give up growing these flowers as there are now pollenless or hypoallergenic sunflowers. Some of the best-known cultivars are ‘Apricot Twist’, ‘Infrared Mix’, ‘Lemon Eclair’, ‘The Joker’, ‘Moonbright’, ProCut Bicolor, ‘Sunbeam’ ‘Sunbright Supreme’ and Sunrich.

This annual can grow in all zones. As the name implies, it loves full sun, and the seeds attract birds, butterflies and people. The plant is fairly unfussy about soil but does need the soil to be loose enough to accommodate its deep taproot. It is also happiest with regular water but can handle drought. You’ll need to stake the larger varieties.

Wisteria - Wisteria floribunda, W. chinensis

No matter how much people gush about the romance of wisteria draping over patios and climbing up pillars in spring, if wisteria triggers your allergies, all you’ll be doing is removing yourself from the area as soon as possible. The pollen is a well-known hay fever trigger, and pruning or sometimes even touching the plant can cause skin reactions.

Plant Alternative: If you want a flowering vine, Evergreen clematis - Clematis armandii or clematis hybrids may be what you are looking for. These vines love full sun to partial shade.

Evergreen clematis, with its white scented flowers, can reach 15 to 20 feet tall. Deciduous clematis hybrids have large flowers in a range of colors, from white and pink to blue and purple, and can reach 6 to 10 feet tall.

Most kinds of clematis need about five to six hours of sun, but they don’t want to be too hot. The standard line is to keep their feet shady and their heads sunny. Plant in loose, fast-draining soil. They don’t do well in soggy soil, but at the same time, you do need to keep them moist and not let them dry out. Feed monthly with a balanced fertilizer while they’re growing and provide support.

They may be bothered by familiar garden pests and diseases; practice good gardening techniques, provide adequate air circulation, and remove any disease-infected parts of plants and dispose of them away from your garden.

Clematis has another advantage over wisteria: The blooms last longer.


Organize Your Garage: A 7 Day Plan

If you are ready to transform your garage from dumping ground to a useful, well-organized space, this plan is for you. It breaks down a huge task into manageable steps, so you can stop fearing your garage and finally start using it again. Not only are garages generally filled with cars, oil spots and an assortment of stinky chemical stuff, they also have a reputation as the black hole of the home, the place where you put things and then never see them again. Here’s how to change that.

Make a Plan of Attack

Depending on the state of your garage, you may need to clear a weekend to kick off this task. Get help if you can — and keep an eye on the weather. You need to be able to drag stuff out of the garage so you will have more space to go through it. The first two days include the hardest work; the rest of the week is about putting things back together and creating storage that functions well. Read over the whole plan before beginning and make adjustments as needed.

Also, before you get started, take a moment to envision the way you want your garage to look when you are done. How do you want to use your garage? Do you need to make room for your cars, carve out space for a workshop or create a smartly organized storage space for seasonal gear? Keeping your goals in mind will help you stay focused.

Day 1: Purge

Before diving, it will help if you take a moment to set up several areas: hazardous waste, garbage, recycling, donate, sell and keep. Rent a Dumpster if you need it, but keep in mind that you may be able to recycle, donate or sell most of what you no longer want or need. Once you have your zones in place, begin pulling things out of your garage and sorting them. Don’t try to sort stuff in your garage — you won’t be able to really clean or organize if you try to sort it in place.

What to Keep:

◦  Important memorabilia

◦  Things you have used within the past 12 months

◦  Things you have a definite plan to use in the near future, such as workout gear

    you forgot you owned

◦  Spare materials for your home, such as paint and tile

Categorize Your Keepers:

◦  Holiday decorations

◦  Gardening supplies

◦  Tools

◦  Paint and home repair

◦  Car care

◦  Memorabilia

◦  Seasonal gear

◦  Sports equipment

◦  Miscellaneous

Get rid of everything else. Thinking you might someday want to use something is not a good reason to keep it. Each item you keep that you do not use, love or truly need is taking up precious space in your home and in your life, space that could be used for something more worthwhile. Give it away, sell it, pass it on … let it go.

Day 2: Clean and Inspect

Because they can house everything from cars to paint cans, garages get dirty. Sometimes really dirty. And while a little dirt is to be expected in a garage, keeping up a basic level of tidiness can help deter critters who may think of taking up residence in your boxes of stuff. Today is the day for a clean sweep.

* Remove everything from the garage, if you haven’t already.
* Inspect the garage for signs of rodents, pests and water damage. If you find signs, make a plan to treat as needed.
* Vacuum or sweep up dust bunnies and major dust from the   corners. Wear a dust mask if you are sensitive to dust.
* Sprinkle powdered detergent liberally on cement floor oil stains and scrub with a stiff- bristled brush and warm water. Rinse and let dry.
* Thoroughly sweep the floors.
* If you want to get the floors extra clean, spray them with a hose, scrub with an old mop, rinse and sweep out excess water. Let them dry completely before bringing back any of your stuff.

Decluttering Tasks: While your floors dry, visit your piles of stuff left from yesterday.

* Transfer things from oddly shaped containers or falling-apart cardboard boxes into sturdy plastic bins. Cardboard: rats and other rodents can easily chew their way in and use any soft material they find inside to make a nest.

* Use smaller open-top bins to organize frequently used supplies like gardening gear and tools.

* Use color-coded labels to identify the contents.

* Don’t mix contents. If you start with a box of childhood memorabilia, don’t toss swimming suits at the end. That will make it impossible to find things later!

Day 3: Make a Storage Plan

Standing in your garage with a clipboard, draw a rough floor plan of the space. Mark where each category of stuff will go. As you complete the rest of this week’s tasks, fill in details about where you are storing what. And be sure to keep this plan — it will come in handy when you’re ready to pull out the holiday decorations!

Day 4: Get Everything Off the Floor

Storing stuff on the floor of the garage invites mildew and water damage, and makes it easier to let things get messy again. If you do not already have a storage system in place, now is the time to get one.

Use Vertical Space

Consider adding tall shelving units and a ceiling-mounted platform.

Use the Walls

Don’t let a wall go to waste! If you have two walls filled with shelving, fill the other one with wall-mounted storage. It can be as fancy as a custom storage system or as simple as a pegboard and a row of wall hooks. Bikes, tools, shovels, rakes and sports gear can all be hung on the wall, avoiding the dreaded floor pileup.

Ceiling-Mounted System 

Makes excellent use of space. Stack plastic bins, just be sure you label them and face the labels out, on top, and hang bikes and other gear from hooks underneath.

Store the least frequently used stuff in the highest spots:

Top-level Storage: Childhood memorabilia and old documents that must be stored long-term

Medium Height: Holiday decorations and seasonal gear

Lowest: Gardening supplies, home improvement tools and sports equipment

Day 5: Finish the Job

If you still have a pile, don’t freak out. Now is the time to finish the job so you can move on to more important things — like rewarding yourself with an ice-cold drink.

Take your hazardous waste to the proper disposal or recycling facility. Check to find a place that collects hazardous waste and other recyclables. You may be surprised at what can be recycled — even old clothing and textiles, coat hangers, running shoes and broken appliances, to name a few.

Donate items if you can. See if any shelters or nonprofits in your area are accepting donations right now.

Sell or give away other items. If you have things left over, you may be able to use a digital marketplace to list items for sale or to give away. Or see if anyone you know is in need of your items.

Day 6: Make an Entrance

If your garage connects to your home, you probably use it as an entrance — which means you could use a mini mudroom in the area near the door. Put down a doormat to trap oil and dirt before people step foot in your house; provide a boot tray or shelving for shoes, and a few hooks or a standing closet for coats.

Day 7 and Beyond: Keep Up the Good Work!

Decluttering Tasks:

Stop thinking of your garage as a dumping ground for things you don’t know what to do with, and start thinking of it as the useful, accessible storage area that it is.

When you put something new into storage, be sure it is in a secure, labeled container, and mark it down on your storage plan.

Cleaning Tasks:

Wipe up oil spots as soon as you notice them and sprinkle on kitty litter to soak up the most of the stain before it sets.

Keep a box in the garage to collect items that need to go to a special recycling or waste center, like motor oil and paint, and make a trip there whenever the box is full.

Set a date for at least once or twice a year to give your garage a thorough cleaning.

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