sweet potatoes

Is it a yam or sweet potato, plus more from Master Gardeners

Your supermarket may call them yams, but they are probably sweet potatoes, according to an article in the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters. A true “sweet potato” is not a yam. And a sweet potato isn’t a potato, either. Find out more about sweet potatoes and yams in this article by Carol Ann Harlos. Other articles in this issue are: Not Your Grandmother’s Houseplants Anymore by Vicki Bruning MG Volunteer Meeting Speaker: Dave Zittel by Carol Ann Harlos…

native perennial hibiscus

Showy flowers & more: Four native plants that look great in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants are not only good for beneficial insects, they can be just what you need to make your garden look great. Here are four native plants being offered by Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. These plants are true natives, not hybrids or cultivars, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager. All four plants like sun. See a list of Urban Roots’ native plants here. They offer about 100 different native plants throughout…

basket of tomatoes and cucumber by Stofko

Reminder: You risk a setback if you rush tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re one of those Western New York gardeners who like to plant your tender vegetables during Mother’s Day weekend, I hope you checked the forecast first. Last night we had a frost advisory for all of Western New York. Tender vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, can’t tolerate frost! In fact, they want nights–nights, not days– that are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be a few days before we see even daytime…

illustration of garden from grass by Stofko

How to turn lawn into garden in spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s spring! If you want to start a new garden in your yard, you will have to remove the grass first. Darren Cotton, founder and president of The Tool Library in Buffalo, shares the steps he followed when he and his partner Michael Reyes created new cutting gardens last year. (The purpose of a cutting garden is to grow flowers that will be picked. Reyes is a floral designer.) Cotton, who is an urban planner and graphic…

volcano mulch illustration muffin and donut

Reminder: no mulch volcanoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seems to be the start of volcano season in Western New York. Mulch volcanoes (those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees) are showing up again. They may look nice to you, but they’re not good for the trees, according to garden experts. Mulch volcanoes can slowly kill trees. Check out our previous article on mulch volcanoes to find out why you shouldn’t use mulch volcanoes and how you can properly mulch…

perennial garden in Lancaster NY

How to start a perennial garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to start a new garden with perennials, you could plop some random plants into the ground and hope for the best. But putting some thought into what you’d like your garden to be will make you happier in the end, said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. (They are now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m….

colorful spring garden

How to create a beautiful spring garden in Western New York

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko “It changes every day,” said Tom Homme of his spring garden in Pendleton. There’s never a lull in the landscape of Tom Homme and his wife Darcie because he has spent the past 11 years working to create gardens that are interesting in all four seasons. We got a peek at what makes his winter garden attractive in this previous article. You will be able to see the Hommes’ garden in person this summer on Open…

don't use lawn fertilizer with phosphorus

Don’t use phosphorus on your lawn; ‘Look for the Zero’

To keep our Western New York waterways clean, go phosphorus-free when using lawn fertilizer and “Look for the Zero.” On a fertilizer bag, you’ll see three numbers. The number in the middle is for phosphorus. For lawns, choose a fertilizer that has a zero in the middle. Excess phosphorus is a threat to many New York waterbodies, triggering algae blooms and sometimes rendering waters unswimmable and unfishable, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). That’s why…

Hawaiian purple sweet potato with shoots

How to grow dozens of sweet potatoes from one

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko From one sweet potato, you can sprout several plants, and you can get as many as six to 10 potatoes from one plant. You can eat the leaves, too! Cheryl Harris, a gardener who grows an amazing variety and amount of vegetables on her double lot in Buffalo, tells us how to grow these tasty and nutritious vegetables. You’ll be able to visit her this year during two events: the East Side…

red lily leaf beetles and lilies

It’s time to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners in Western New York have started to notice the red lily leaf beetle, which can devastate your lilies (true lilies, but not daylilies). I’ve written about red lily leaf beetles before; see details here. Last year we shared a couple home remedies that might keep red lily leaf beetles away. One is diatomaceous earth and the other is a homemade spray. There aren’t any controlled studies that look at how effective…