composting with worms in Buffalo Ny

Turn garbage into compost for your garden with red wriggler worms

by Connie Oswald Stofko I saw some amazingly beautiful compost a couple weeks ago in an Earth Day demonstration at Buffalo ReUse. The compost was dark brown and crumbly and pure, with almost no soil mixed in. The secret to this compost is red wriggler worms. They eat garbage and turn it into compost. “They eat their weight in garbage every day,” explained Kevin Hayes, executive director at Buffalo ReUse. “They’re voracious.” The earth worms that you find in your…

sparrows in juniper in Buffalo-Niagara area

Keep Earth Day in mind as you set your gardening goals

by Mike Van Der Puy On the border of my lot stands a mature evergreen bush that holds little aesthetic appeal for me. At six feet high and about eight feet in diameter, it does function to some degree as a windbreak. Its primary function, however, is serving as the equivalent of Starbucks to many sparrows. They come here for daily chitchat, protection from the weather and protection from that hawk watching from the nearby maple. The sparrows have not…

Sharon Webber talks with Gary Barnes of Buffalo

Here’s why great soil is so important to your Buffalo area garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sharon M. Webber, CNLP was once called to a home with a problem. It had a fairly new landscape, installed just two years before, but the plants weren’t thriving. In fact, normally tough and sturdy varieties of plant, such as forsythia, spirea, day lilies and even black-eyed Susans, were declining, big time. When you want to know why, she said, “Always go to the soil.” It turned out the initial installation had used soil pulled from…

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' in Amherst NY

The grass that made me cry, and my best organic gardening tip ever

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj It was potting day last weekend. Oh, how I expected the tears to flow. We’ll be moving in January and I had made a list of a few of the rarer items in my garden that I want to take with me: the newly planted peach tree saplings, the purchased but luckily never planted Japanese holly, the similarly unplanted Corylus avellana “Contorta.” Since the ground will be frozen solid when we move, I…

caryopteris wide angle

Mums are nice, but think outside the box for autumn color in your garden

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj Mums are everywhere now. Heck, you can even buy them at gas stations. I’ve got fifteen dollars on pump number three, this Slim Jim, and oh, a burgundy cushion mum, please. While I do love mums’ bushy blooms and their pungent smell, I have other plant friends that bring a different look to my garden. Rest assured they require only loving neglect, as I’ve talked about in previous columns. Caryopteris “Sunshine Blue,” seen…

tomatoes organic gardening

A minimalist approach to vegetable gardening

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj You know the “Set it and forget it” motto on the infomercial? That’s the kind of gardener I am. I set the plant in the ground and forget about it. I describe my method as survival-of-the-fittest gardening. No special coddling, practically zero watering, and certainly no umbrellas set up to protect delicate plants from the sun. Seriously? People actually do that? If it doesn’t survive where I plonk it, it just wasn’t meant…

Carlos and Susan Gartin of Buffalo

Gracious patio garden graces once-abandoned lot in Buffalo

What was once an abandoned lot is now a lovely backyard patio for Susan and Carlos Gartin. They shared their creation during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 7. The lot is on East St., just behind their home at 169 Dearborn St.  It had been a dumping ground for asphalt, concrete and bricks, and the weeds grew seven feet high, Carlos said. The Gartins bought it in August 2009. Now flower beds are tucked…

Rosa Dream Come True organic gardening in Western New York

The (relative) pampering of roses

Rosa Dream Come True Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj I generally practice a survival-of-the-fittest approach to gardening, but I admit to pampering my roses a bit. I figure they deserve it for the joy they bring me. Few other flowers make me literally tear up from their beauty. I planted my roses last spring. I have mostly English roses because I love the heavy fragrance and voluptuously full blossoms. The exceptions are my Grandiflora “Dream Come True” and…

cutleaf weeping peashrub organic gardening

Try vinegar and boiling water in your organic garden

Adventures in Organic Gardening by Laura Sileo-Lepkyj In my previous column, I promised I would tell you what exactly is industrial strength acetic acid, and why I was lugging around boiling water on a 90-degree day. In answer to the first part: Industrial strength acetic acid is, simply put, high-power vinegar and is used in manufacturing and chemical labs. In answer to the latter: because I had a momentary lapse in judgment. Why would a gardener be interested acetic acid?…

organic gardening column

Join me as I dive into organic gardening

by Laura Sileo-Lepkyj I started my adventures in organic gardening almost by accident when I decided to enter my garden in the Amherst garden walk this spring. As I was filling out the application, I had a dilemma: what boxes should I check to describe the various features of my garden? Sculptures? Nope. Native Plants? Not so much. Pond? Nada. Arbors/Pergolas? Seriously? I was getting worried. What did I have to offer that makes my garden unique? Then there appeared…