dew on blades of grass

Seeing child make sand castles out of pesticide caused landscaper to change his practices

by Connie Oswald Stofko Caution. Warning. Dangerous. Keep out of reach of children. That’s what you’ll find on the labels of pesticides and other chemicals that people routinely spray on their lawns, said Paul Tukey, and he used to spray them, too. Tukey shared his story of how he went from routinely using chemicals with warning labels to using all-organic practices in his landscaping business. Now he is chief sustainability officer for Glenstone, a contemporary art museum in Potomac, Maryland….

Brown marmorated stink bug

There’s a new bug in Western New York and it might eat plants in your garden

by Dana Santasiero There’s a new bug in Western New York and there are two main things you need to know about it. First, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is called a stink bug because when you step on it, it smells. Second, it could eat the plants in your garden. The good news is even though it is big and ugly, it won’t hurt you. You might find it in your house over the winter but it’ll just be…

Learn how to have a pretty garden while being kind to the environment at Lockwood’s Fall Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko We gardeners want to be kind to the environment, but it can seem so complicated. We may know that we should have a sustainable landscape, though many of us probably can’t define exactly what that means. We should be organic, which encompasses so many different gardening practices. Can we do it all and have a pretty garden at the same time? Yes, and gardening expert Sally Cunningham will tell you how during a talk at 10…

grow tunnel in Buffalo NY

Grow tunnel lets you grow veggies during winter in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The temperature was in the teens this past weekend, but the vegetables in the grow tunnel at City Honors School in Buffalo are still going strong. In this video, Caesandra Seawell, garden manager, shows us how the grow tunnel can extend the gardening season, allowing us to grow vegetables in autumn and winter in Western New York. She describes how the grow tunnel was constructed, and it seems pretty easy. There have been some developments since…

How to keep basil over winter: Free class discusses growing tomatoes inside, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko The days are getting shorter and colder and soon we’ll be seeing snow in Western New York, but you can continue to grow food plants– inside! In this article, Jak Kochems, horticulture consultant at Arbordale Nurseries and Landscaping in the Getzville area of Amherst, gives us tips on how to bring basil plants inside and care for them over the winter. If you haven’t already brought your basil plant inside, do it now– a freeze can kill…

Watch local cooking challenge & learn to cook with native plants

Sumac, a native plant, is pretty this time of year with its large red, cone-shaped flowers. You can see these small trees in parks or in the wild, and they make a great landscape plant. But did you know sumac is edible? There are quite a few native plants you might want to start growing for food– If you know how to cook with them. In this article we’ll tell you about two events where you can get ideas on…

front garden in Buffalo NY

Gardener goes old school with organic gardening in Buffalo

“We’re from New York City,” said Shawn King. “It’s all concrete there. When we got here and saw all this land, we just started planting.” She and her husband, Lew-Jean, have lived for 27 years at 166 Lasalle Ave., Buffalo. I visited them on July 13 during the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk. “We’ve always had a garden,” Shawn said. “The love of gardening was instilled in me by my grandmother.” In the front yard, a neat arrangement of flowers…

pretty backyard is pesticide free in Buffalo NY

Pesticide-free yard in Parkside is kid-friendly & pretty, too

You may be used to seeing small yellow signs warning you to keep your children and pets off a neighbor’s lawn because it had recently been sprayed with a pesticide. A different kind of yellow sign is displayed in the front yard at 82 West Humboldt, Buffalo: “Pesticide Free. This area safe for children, pets and other living things.” “To me, it’s worth avoiding pesticides,” Dan Cadzow said. “You track it inside on your shoes and the kids play on…

Question on spotty mint, plus more gardening news

What’s the problem with this mint– and oregano, too? Jackie Fialkowski Gatas contacted me with this question: Does anyone happen to know what is happening with my mint? It’s also starting to show on my oregano. Don’t know if it’s a bug or a fungus. Thanks guys. Readers, can you help Jackie? If so, please leave a comment below. Background Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession….

Check on your amaryllis and other items too good to miss

I walked into my basement this weekend and was surprised to see that my amaryllis bulbs were leafing out. I shouldn’t have been surprised; this is precisely what they were supposed to do. I am forcing them to bloom indoors so I can enjoy gorgeous flowers in the middle of winter. But out of sight, out of mind. I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t notice their activity until the leaves were quite long and I had a flower bud. If…