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….

oak leaf on pine needles

Take steps now to have great soil next year

by Connie Oswald Stofko A couple of simple tests can tell you what steps you have to take to improve your soil– or let you know that you are already on the right track. There are three kinds of tests you might do, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. The first is a pH test to find out how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Farfaglia recommends that every gardener do this test at…

vinca minor in Amherst NY by Stofko

Fungal disease may affect vinca minor, plus more info from Master Gardeners

If you’re noticing dying stems and leaves on your vinca minor (also known as myrtle or periwinkle), it might not be due to the dry weather. It might be a fungal disease. You find out more in the article “Potential Problem with Vinca Minor,” one of the articles in September’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In This Month in the Garden, you get tips on planting cool-season crops…

gardens and Irish flag at front of house in Tonawanda

‘Lazy gardener’ shares tips on how he created Irish pub in backyard

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s an Irish pub. It’s an outdoor living room. And it has gardens. That’s what you encounter when you visit Michael Ryan’s backyard on Englewood Ave., Tonawanda. It’s the party place for his family and friends. Visitors are amazed and assume he must spend lots of time maintaining his landscape, but he insists that he’s a lazy gardener who uses lots of short cuts. “It’s two weeks of work at the beginning of the season, then…

straw bale gardening

Save those straw bales; grow vegetable plants in them next spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you are using a straw bale in your autumn decorations, don’t throw it away! You can grow tomatoes and other vegetables in it next spring. I saw photos of the technique called straw bale gardening on the Vegetable Gardeners of WNY Facebook page. I was delighted that Gina and Tony Kruzel allowed me to visit their Kenmore home early in October to see what they had done. They decided to try straw bale gardening because…

street trees in autumn in Western New York by Stofko

Make the most of these wonderful autumn leaves in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko This has been a gorgeous autumn with a wonderful display of autumn leaves. Now that those leaves are falling, let’s put them to use. Crunch them for compost or mulch If you have a lawn mower with a bag on it, it’s easy for you to crunch up and collect your fallen leaves. If you don’t have a bag, rake your leaves onto a concrete or asphalt driveway, then go over them with the lawnmower. That…

raised bed made with cinder blocks

Are cinder blocks OK for vegetable gardens? Answers to that & other soil safety questions

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it safe to use cinder blocks in a raised bed, or might chemicals from the concrete blocks leach out of the blocks to contaminate your soil and food plants you grow there? Can you use pressure treated lumber? Can you grow food plants in the hellstrip, the area between the street and sidewalk? John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, responded to my questions on soil safety. Cinder blocks in raised…

Lewiston GardenFest

Tip: Plant Egyptian walking onions & mark your calendar for Lewiston GardenFest

by Connie Oswald Stofko Carol Ann Harlos will give a talk on herbs at the 10th annual Lewiston GardenFest, which will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21, on Center Street in Lewiston. I asked her to share one tip as a preview. “Plant Egyptian walking onions,” Harlos said without hesitation. Why? “Because they walk through your garden!” she said. The plants get bulbils or bulblets at the top of the stem, the…

rue at Mike Weber Greenhouses in West Seneca NY

7 unusual uses for easy-to-grow herbs; you can plant them all summer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everybody knows you can use herbs to season your food, but there are many other uses for these wonderful plants, said Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. Today we’ll talk about just a few of the 90 varieties of herbs grown by Mike Weber Greenhouses. What I like most about herbs is that they’re easy to grow. “They just don’t want to be overwatered,” Weber said. As I’ve said…