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…

deer eating in Buffalo NY winter Jan 2011

Keep deer and rabbits out of your garden in the Buffalo area

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The image at left is lovely if it’s on a Christmas card, but aggravating if it’s actually happening in your garden. I’ve written before about ways to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden. Even if you read those articles when they were published, take a second look and make sure you take a look at the comments sections. Readers have followed up and shared great tips! I think it’s time to address the…

two boys in Hamburg NY school garden

Take a lesson from this elementary school garden in Hamburg

“All of this is to teach our children where food comes from,” said Tricia Miller, volunteer coordinator for the Giving Garden at Union-Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg. “If children grow it and taste it, their willingness to eat it and try more things grows.” The garden at Union-Pleasant Elementary School started three years ago because parents were concerned about food in the schools, Miller said. They decided a garden would be a good way to educate children about healthy food…

composting with worms in Buffalo Ny

Update: Where you can get worms for composting in the Buffalo area

A lot of you have asked where you can get red worms for composting. In an April article, we told you that Buffalo Reuse was planning to sell worms for composting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’ll have a stock available anytime soon, so your best bet is to go to a bait shop. I went to Big Catch Bait and Tackle, 2287 Niagara St., Buffalo. Greg Becker, an employee there, said the red worms used for composting are easily…

David Clark rose class in Hamburg NY

Learn about growing and tending roses in Buffalo area

by Connie Oswald Stofko Growing roses in the Buffalo area isn’t as hard as some people think. In the video below, David Clark, professional horticulturist, gives quick tips on selecting roses, caring for roses and managing pests. Want more in-depth information? Clark will give a class on the topic at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, 2011 at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. The cost for the class is $12. For reservations, call 649-4684 or visit the shop….