Seed-starting tips & more help from Master Gardeners

You started some seeds inside and watched them grow into healthy seedlings. Soon after, they were dead. This sudden death is “damping off,” and it can be prevented. Find out how to avoid damping off in an article by Carol Ann Harlos in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. It’s produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In addition to the article on damping off, in this edition of WNY Gardening Matters you will…

Eastern coyote

Coyotes: Another reason to use a covered compost bin

When you started your compost pile, you may have worried about attracting mice and rats. But here’s a new concern: coyotes. Eastern coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments. They are becoming a more common sight to gardeners in Western New York, and you don’t want to attract them to your yard. One thing gardeners can do is to enclose compost piles so coyotes can’t get at them. That’s a tip from the New York State…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Buy compost bins, rain barrels during Erie County sale

You can buy compost bins and rain barrels at wholesale prices during a sale being held by Erie County in partnership with the Western New York Storm water Coalition, the City of Buffalo and the Town of Wheatfield. The deadline to order is Friday, May 3. You will pick up your order at one of two locations: the City of Buffalo Engineering Garage, 1120 Seneca St., Buffalo, or the Town of Wheatfield Town Hall, 2800 Church Rd., North Tonawanda. The…

composting poster 2018

Compost poster contest seeks entries by Nov. 5; prize is $500

The International Compost Awareness Week Committee is offering a prize of $500 to the winner of the poster contest promoting International Compost Awareness Week, which will be held May 5 -11, 2019. The theme for the poster will be “Cool the Climate – Compost!” The contest is open to anyone from ten years old to adult. There are three contest divisions: grades 3-7, grades 8-12, and college – adult. The best from each division will be entered into the final contest. The…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Rain barrels, compost bins on sale in Erie County; order by May 25

A sale of rain barrels and compost bins is being held by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, the City of Buffalo and the Western New York Stormwater Coalition. Prices are 50 percent off retail. The deadline to order is May 25. Quantities are limited. You have to pick up your items on June 7. The pick-up sites are in Buffalo and Tonawanda. See more details here.  This is the third year the organizations have held the sale. Some…

orchid dyed blue

Don’t be misled by gardening myths; learn more at Plantasia

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I finally got fed up with the baloney I saw on the Internet,” said Carolyn Stanko, associate professor of horticulture and biology at Niagara County Community College and a senior CNLP. She’d see posts of bogus gardening information, but other readers would think it was true and share it. “I finally had to stand up and preach the truth!” she said. She will help you separate gardening fact from fiction when she presents “Garden Myth Busting –…

wrapping paper to compost

What wrapping paper can you compost and which will contaminate your soil?

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s so exciting to see beautifully wrapped gifts, but what happens to all of that wrapping paper once the gifts are opened? Can your compost it? You can compost some kinds of wrapping paper, but many kinds contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic that will contaminate your compost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. “Those heavy metals don’t break down and could end up in your vegetable garden,”…

front yard on Garden Walk Buffalo

Tip on planting in tiny yard; get more tips at Garden Walk Buffalo this weekend

by Connie Oswald Stofko Rosemary Lyons has an ingenious way to squeeze plants into the flagstone patio that takes up all of her tiny yard. One place where there aren’t any pavers is where the wrought iron fence is set into the ground. Lyons set some bricks on each side of the fence, then filled the area around the fence with fresh soil and lots of compost. There was enough room to plant purple pole beans, and the fence was…

shredded paper for compost

Save yourself some cleanup: Line kitchen scrap container with shredded paper & add to compost

by Connie Oswald Stofko A lot us of keep a container in the kitchen so we can collect potato peels, orange rinds, tea bags and other scraps for our compost pile. I use an old plastic container that has a cracked lid. Your container might be as simple as a used coffee can. You don’t need anything fancy. Here’s my big confession: I don’t like to wash out the container. I mean, you’re basically using it to collect garbage. It’s…