hellstrip with flowers in Buffalo NY view from sidewalk

Tips for planting an unused space: the ‘hellstrip’ between street & sidewalk

by Connie Oswald Stofko People call it the “hellstrip.” It’s that section between the sidewalk and street where people generally grow nothing but grass. It’s where the plows deposit the heavy, salty snow from the street. Garbage cans get tossed there. Dogs do their business there. What in the world could you grow there? Flowers and herbs. That’s what Elaine Clutterbuck of Buffalo grows in the three-season garden she has established in her hellstrip. This past summer her garden was…

Fascinating green roof project under way in Springville; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Springville Center for the Arts is seeking volunteers to start seedlings for its green roof project. You’ll get seeds that you are asked to start in containers and nurture until they’re ready to be transplanted onto the green roof. You don’t have to live in Springville to participate. In addition to the seedling program, volunteers are needed for the installation of the green roof on the building that the arts center is rehabilitating at  5 East Main…

Start seeds inside now for cool-weather crops; start seeds for tomatoes in a few weeks in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s finally time for us to start thinking about starting seeds inside! Cool-weather vegetables Let’s keep our fingers crossed that all this snow melts at a nice, steady pace so that our garden beds will be dry enough to for us to plant cool-weather vegetables in April. As the folks from Lockwood’s Greenhouses in Hamburg told us in a previous article, cool-weather vegetables are the crops that can take some cooler weather and light frosts. They…

plum tomatoes in Buffalo NY area

Rotate vegetable plants to prevent disease, discourage pests & keep soil healthy

by Connie Oswald Stofko “People will tell me, ‘I’ve been growing tomatoes in this same spot for 15 years and I’ve never had a problem with disease,” said Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, garden writer and teacher. “I tell them, ‘You’ve been lucky.’” Harlos suggests that you rotate your plants in your vegetable garden about every three years to discourage pests and prevent disease. Rotating vegetables means placing them in a different spot in your garden. An important thing to…

tomatoes in early autumn Amherst NY

Four things to do in your early autumn garden

It’s officially autumn in Western New York, but that doesn’t mean we’re done working in our gardens. We’ve had a lovely stretch of warm and sunny weather, so it’s been a pleasure to work outside, and that pleasant weather should continue for a few more days. Whether you want to be productive or are just looking for an excuse to get outdoors, here are some things you can do in your garden now. Water your plants It has been sunny…

herb garden at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Get tips from history to deal with a combination of dry and wet conditions in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A combination of gardening problems faces Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, the 35-acre historical interpretive center in Amherst that showcases 19th century buildings set up like a village. Much of the landscape is boggy, so gardens can be wet early in the season. In addition, there’s no irrigation system, and hoses can’t reach all the gardens, so there’s no easy way to water plants during the dry summer months. To deal with these conditions, Buffalo Niagara Heritage…

Chef to demonstrate cooking with herbs Aug. 23 at Mischler’s; tips on growing herbs, too

Herbs can add so much to the dishes we prepare– if you know how to use herbs well. Chef Andrew Marino of the Irishman Pub and Eatery in Williamsville will present a free demonstration and tasting called “Cooking With Herbs” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Using plants available at Mischler’s, Marino will teach you how to make and plate special herb-inspired dishes. You can buy the plants and take…

big planter on deck in Buffalo NY

Create a no-bending, no-kneeling garden like this one in Buffalo

  by Connie Oswald Stofko JoAnn Yager has a small garden along the fence in her backyard, but the plants there struggle. “They never grew,” she said, “and it was too hard bending and weeding.” This year she tried something new. Her reward is that she is surrounded by flowers and herbs and vegetables, plus she eliminated all that bending and kneeling. Her trick? She used containers on her back deck. Yager shared her tips during the Black Rock &…

dog by garden in South Buffalo NY

South Buffalo gardener uses simple fence to keep peace with her puppy

by Connie Oswald Stofko Shiloh, not quite two years old, is still a puppy. She’s well behaved, but she has one puppy behavior that could be maddening to a gardener. She likes to dig holes and bury bones– in the garden! Her owner, Justine Tutuska, came up with a creative way to keep her garden beds intact. She made simple fences by tying together bamboo sticks. She sets these across the garden beds to keep Shiloh out. You can see…

Plant food now: broccoli & other veggies from seed for fall as well as fruit trees & bushes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If your garden was wet or you were busy and didn’t get any food plants in your garden this spring, don’t fret. It’s not too late. You can plant vegetables, including broccoli, from seed. You can also plant fruit trees and bushes. Vegetables Now is the time to plant seeds for many vegetables that you can harvest in fall. In addition to broccoli, seeds that you can sow now include lima beans, coriander, dill, collards and…