Why are leaves on my tomato plant turning yellow or brown?

by Connie Oswald Stofko The leaves on the bottom of my tomato plants are turning yellow, then brown. Don’t worry; it’s normal, says Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses at 42 French Rd., West Seneca. “That’s what happens when the plant starts making tomatoes,” she said. “It’s better to have an ugly plant with lots of tomatoes than the other way around. By the end of summer, you should have a dead-looking tomato plant.” That’s what…

two bees on a flower

Good news for bees, plus more from Master Gardeners

Due to the much publicized and well researched problems caused by neonicotinoids, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned 12 pesticides because of the harmful effect neonicotinoids have on bees, according to “Good News for Bees and the Environment” by Lyn Chimera. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. That article is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by…

garlic plants with scapes

It’s almost time to harvest garlic; when can you plant?

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can generally harvest garlic in mid- or late-July. The foliage starts to die back, which is an indication that the garlic is ready. Once your garlic is harvested, you’ll have an empty spot in your garden until October, the recommended time to plant garlic. But do we have to wait until October to plant garlic? As we discussed in a previous article, maybe not. Last year, I planted my garlic in intervals starting in August….

oak leaves showing symptoms of oak wilt

Watch out for oak wilt in July, August

The good news is that oak wilt, a serious disease for oak trees, hasn’t been spotted in Western New York yet. The bad news is that it has been identified in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, as well as in other parts of New York State. See a map here. The good news is that if oak wilt is found, steps can be taken to keep it from spreading. July and August is the time to spot oak wilt disease,…

garden beds in center of yard

Prepare for Open Gardens & get tips from Hidden Gardens of Eden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Open Gardens will be held on Thursdays and Fridays starting next week, so get your booklet now. The booklet lists the locations of the gardens as well as the times and dates that each garden is open. The organizers even included suggested routes to help you see all the gardens. The booklet is available for a $10 donation at many local garden centers– see the list here.  The Open Gardens are like garden walks, but they take…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC

What to do if you spot giant hogweed in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko A reader from Eden contacted me last week because he had spotted giant hogweed and wanted to know how to report it. I’m so glad he remembered seeing information about giant hogweed previously on this site. This is a seriously dangerous plant. It can cause severe skin and eye irritation, including painful burns and permanent scarring. Getting even a tiny amount of the sap in your eyes can cause temporary or permanent blindness. See more here….

What type of rose is good for your garden? How do you care for roses?

by Bonnie Vitale, president of the Western New York Rose Society There so many different types of roses. Which one is right for you? Here are a few examples of different types of rose bushes that grow well in our area. You can also find out more about roses at the 70th annual Rose Show to be held by the Western New York Rose Society from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 22 at the Galleria Mall, One Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga. You’ll be…

horse in Western New York

Can horse manure keep deer away from your garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I don’t get deer in my yard, so I haven’t tested whether horse manure might keep deer away. But I know how desperate Western New York gardeners get when it comes to deer, so I figured I should pass along any tip that might help. I got this information from a blog post by Joyce Tomanek on Mother Earth News that was published in 1999. Tomanek lives in the Southeast, which may (or may not) make a difference….

lone star tick

Watch out for scary new tick, plus update on lily beetle

Two invasive insects — one that can make you sick and another that damages your lilies— are discussed in this month’s WNY Gardening Matters. The publication is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Lone star tick The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is a scary tick that is now in New York State, according to Lyn Chimera in this article. The bite of the lone star tick can trigger a very dangerous syndrome called…

grass growing among perennial plants

How do you get grass out of your garden? Please tell us your tips!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A gardener recently asked me how he could get grass out of his garden beds. It’s so difficult, he said, because when you pull up on the grass, you may think you’ve got it all, but the root just keeps going and going. All I could do was commiserate. I have stones lining my garden beds in an attempt to keep the lawn on one side and the garden beds on the other, but it doesn’t…