orange and red peppers

Inflation: Ideas for growing food in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Maybe you haven’t noticed, but food prices are going up and may continue to rise. Food plants may be a good investment right now. To deal with inflation, consider growing vegetables, herbs or fruit that: You are really going to eat Are expensive to buy You can share with others Plant what you like to eat I used to have a large section of garden filled with chives. They grow easily and get a pretty purple…

harvesting sage in early winter

Don’t desert your garden yet! Tasks for early winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I wasn’t sure whether to use “early winter” or “late autumn” in the headline. Technically, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. Yet we have already gotten snow and more is in the forecast, so I went with winter. Then again, the snow keeps melting, and many of us still have leaves on the trees. Maybe we should call this season “wintumn.” Whatever you call it, there are still tasks you can do in your garden. Harvest…

lettuce and kale plants

How to get a second crop of vegetables & herbs this year in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can harvest vegetables and herbs into the fall–and even winter–when you plant cool weather vegetables at this time of year. Unlike plants such as tomatoes and peppers that need warm weather to thrive, cool weather vegetables are plants that actually like the cooler temperatures. Some can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. See the table below for more than 20 herbs and vegetables you can still plant this year. “Many experienced gardeners, not…

sage in bloom

Why did sage suddenly flower?

by Connie Oswald Stofko For years, I have enjoyed growing sage. The plants are reliable. No surprises. This year my sage did something new: it got blossoms. I thought maybe that happened because we had a hot day and it bolted. For answers, I turned to Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. They have a full line of 91 herbs. No, the sage plant didn’t bolt; it flowered, she said. The flowers…

Cannabis indica

UPDATE: PLANTASIA IS CANCELLED Medical cannabis & more to be discussed at Plantasia

UPDATE: Plantasia is cancelled From the Plantasia Committee on March 12, 2020: After much deliberation and communication with the proper authorities, due to the ever-growing health concerns from COVID-19, it is with a very heavy heart that we have been left with no choice than to cancel this year’s Plantasia show. We are taking this proactive step for the health and safety of PLANTWNY members, event staff and all of our guests that look forward to our show every year….

sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

chives in flower in Amherst NY

Which herbs bolt, which herbs flower and why it makes a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is bolting versus flowering? In both cases, the plant produces a flower. Flowering occurs as a natural part of the plant’s life and generally doesn’t affect the taste of leaves. Bolting occurs when a plant is stressed, often because the temperatures got too warm for that plant’s liking. The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed. Bolting diverts resources away from the leaves, which…

petunias, ranunculus and other cool-weather plants

Plant some things now; others have to wait until after last frost—or longer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a question that I received from a reader: Hello, I saw that the last frost for my area (in Hamburg) is possible as late as May 22; should I really wait so long to plant anything?  Mariely Ann Ortiz Actually, there are lots of things you can plant outside right now! But some things have to wait until after the last frost — or even longer. And that date you have of May 22…

seeds

New seed library for WNY opens; it’s free!

by Connie Oswald Stofko The WNY Seed Library–the first free seed library of its kind in Western New York– has opened in Amherst. “There was no place in Western New York where you can get seeds for free,” said Brenda Snyder, who started working on the WNY Seed Library in June 2018. Food security is one of her goals. She feels that no one should go without food because they can’t afford it. The seed library aims to provide heirloom…

bulbs of garlic in Buffalo

Six reasons why you should plant garlic– & you can do it now!

by Connie Oswald Stofko I grow garlic– lots of it. And I recommend that you try growing garlic, too. Here are six reasons why you should grow garlic: Garlic is so easy to grow! You plant it, then you sit around for several months, then you harvest it. I haven’t been able to grow zucchini, but I can grow garlic. You have a wide window for planting. You can plant anywhere from August through November– even into December if the…