Tasty eggplants that you can’t buy: grow these heirlooms yourself

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may have heard that if you want flavorful tomatoes, go for heirloom varieties. But did you know that there are heirloom and specialty varieties in other vegetables including eggplants, cucumbers and peppers? “These are varieties that you wouldn’t even see in a supermarket,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. Urban Roots carries about 35 varieties of heirloom and specialty vegetable plants. “We choose varieties that…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Lily beetles, veggies, mulch volcanoes: update & tips in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is one update and two reminders for the beginning of the growing season in Western New York. Some gardeners say they have seen fewer red lily leaf beetles in past years. Get tips on growing vegetables in gardens and in containers. Mulch volcanoes are popular, but bad for your trees. Are there fewer red lily leaf beetles in WNY? A few gardeners mentioned to me that they saw fewer red lily leaf beetles in Western…

Great Plant Sale at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Find unusual plants this week at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Great Plant Sale will again be on site in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. There is no admission charge. Your online gardening magazine, Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, is proud to sponsor the Great Plant Sale! I’ll have a table there, too, so please stop by and say hello! The Great Plant Sale will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 13 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m….

earthworm compared to jumping worm

Update on jumping worms; please send reports

Two recent articles from WNY Gardening Matters give updates on jumping worms, an invasive species that leaches nutrients from soil, making it difficult for most plants to grow. Jumping worms have been found in Western New York. NY iMapInvasives is trying to track where jumping worms are and where they haven’t gotten to yet. Please look in your yard and let NY iMapInvasives know whether or not you see this invasive pest. WNY Gardening Matters The first article says that…

tomato on vine

Reminder: Don’t rush to plant tomatoes in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York gardeners who like to get their tomatoes planted outside on Mother’s Day should probably wait a bit longer this year. What are the chances you will get another frost in your area? Even if you don’t get a frost, the forecast calls for lows in the 40s Fahrenheit this week. And the soil is still cold. Find out why putting out your tomatoes too early can actually cause a setback to your plants…

plants in winter in Amherst NY

What you need to know about plant hardiness zones in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you’re buying perennials (or trees and shrubs), you want plants that will survive the winter and come back the next year. What plants will work for you depends on where you live. The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard that helps you determine which plants are most likely to thrive in your location. You can look at the map to find your zone, or you can type in your street address. The…

Heuchera 'Melting Fire'

New offerings in Mischler’s 69-cent perennial sale; sale starts April 22

by Connie Oswald A dark red heuchera called ‘Melting Fire’. A hollyhock that’s resistant to rust. A columbine with blossoms the color of ‘Tequila Sunrise’. Those are just a few of the new plants being offered in the 69-cent perennial sale starting Friday, April 22 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Road, Williamsville.  Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The plants…

hummingbird at honeysuckle

When to hang hummingbird feeder in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Hang your hummingbird feeder two weeks before hummingbirds are expected in Western New York. Get more details below as well as tips on attracting hummingbirds to your garden and When to expect hummingbirds in Western New York Hummingbirds will return to Western New York in about mid-May, said Penny Durnin of North Tonawanda, who for many years was moderator of the Hummingbird Forum. (That forum is no longer online.) Hummingbirds could arrive earlier if they get a…

dandelion with seeds blowing

Act now on weed seeds, lesser celandine, gypsy (spongy) moths & roses

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some gardening tasks have a small window of opportunity. Here are four things you should do in your garden now. Stop weeds before they pop out of the ground Pre-emergent herbicides stop weeds before they even pop out of the ground– they act on seeds at the germination stage. The optimal time to use pre-emergent herbicides is early in the spring, just before the forsythias bloom or while they are in bloom. Corn gluten meal is…

seedlings with seed on bottom

When should you start seeds inside for tender plants in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Tender plants, such as tomatoes, peppers and some flowers, need warm temperatures to thrive, so you want your seedlings to be ready to transplant ouside when the weather is warm. If you plant your seeds inside too early, the weather might still be too cold to transplant outdoors. When should you plant seeds inside to have the plants ready for your garden at the right time? It depends on what you are planting and where you…