sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

chives in flower in Amherst NY

Which herbs bolt, which herbs flower and why it makes a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is bolting versus flowering? In both cases, the plant produces a flower. Flowering occurs as a natural part of the plant’s life and generally doesn’t affect the taste of leaves. Bolting occurs when a plant is stressed, often because the temperatures got too warm for that plant’s liking. The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed. Bolting diverts resources away from the leaves, which…

petunias, ranunculus and other cool-weather plants

Plant some things now; others have to wait until after last frost—or longer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a question that I received from a reader: Hello, I saw that the last frost for my area (in Hamburg) is possible as late as May 22; should I really wait so long to plant anything?  Mariely Ann Ortiz Actually, there are lots of things you can plant outside right now! But some things have to wait until after the last frost — or even longer. And that date you have of May 22…

seeds

New seed library for WNY opens; it’s free!

by Connie Oswald Stofko The WNY Seed Library–the first free seed library of its kind in Western New York– has opened in Amherst. “There was no place in Western New York where you can get seeds for free,” said Brenda Snyder, who started working on the WNY Seed Library in June 2018. Food security is one of her goals. She feels that no one should go without food because they can’t afford it. The seed library aims to provide heirloom…

lettuce plants in box on chair in Hamburg NY

Bad knees, no yard, little money? You can still garden!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “I have so many friends who say, ‘I can’t garden anymore,’ said Margaret O’Brian of Huntington Ct., Hamburg. As they get older, they have bad knees or other ailments that they didn’t have to contend with when they were younger. She tells them: “You may not be able to garden like you used to, so just switch it up.” One way to do that is through container gardening. Container gardening is planting things in pots and other…

bulbs of garlic in Buffalo

Six reasons why you should plant garlic– & you can do it now!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I grow garlic– lots of it. And I recommend that you try growing garlic, too. Here are six reasons why you should grow garlic: Garlic is so easy to grow! You plant it, then you sit around for several months, then you harvest it. I haven’t been able to grow zucchini, but I can grow garlic. You have a wide window for planting. You can plant anywhere from August through November– even into December if…

herbs covered with leaves

Last-minute gardening tasks to prepare for winter in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve had a long and pleasant autumn, but some Western New Yorkers have had to shovel already. Even if you still have grass showing, you know winter is on the way. Here is a list of last-minute gardening tasks to do to prepare your garden. Put away your breakables. Anything that’s breakable, such as glass garden ornaments, ceramic bird baths or ceramic pots, should be brought inside. There is a chance that wind might topple some…

thyme secured with rubber band

9 ways to preserve herbs, including drying and freezing

by Pam Jones Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County There are many ways you can continue enjoying the herbs from your garden all winter long– eight ways are described here. You can also learn other ways to use herbs in a workshop called “Herbal Remedies for the Winter Months” to be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County at the office at 5435A County Road 48, Belmont. Join…

bulbs of garlic

You may not have to wait until October to plant garlic

by Connie Oswald Stofko One of the things I like about garlic is that planting it gives you something to do in late fall when there is nothing else to do in the garden. I have always heard that you’re supposed to plant garlic in October. But is there any reason you can’t plant it earlier? Since you harvest in July or August, I think it might be convenient to take cloves from your best heads of garlic and plant…

perennials in pot and beds

Mischler’s 49-cent perennial sale starts Friday; use perennials in containers & more tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko Mischler’s 49-cent perennial sale starts this week, and today we’re going to talk about using perennials in containers. We’ll also show you a couple of easy-to-maintain flowers that attract pollinators for your garden beds. The sale will be held from Friday, April 28 to Saturday, May 6 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., 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….