dew on blades of grass

Seeing child make sand castles out of pesticide caused landscaper to change his practices

by Connie Oswald Stofko Caution. Warning. Dangerous. Keep out of reach of children. That’s what you’ll find on the labels of pesticides and other chemicals that people routinely spray on their lawns, said Paul Tukey, and he used to spray them, too. Tukey shared his story of how he went from routinely using chemicals with warning labels to using all-organic practices in his landscaping business. Now he is chief sustainability officer for Glenstone, a contemporary art museum in Potomac, Maryland….

rose and buds in Amherst NY

Tips from Master Gardeners for June, plus wet weather tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko To prevent and treat diseases in roses, now is the time for weekly spraying, according to June’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The tips on rose care are in the article on what to do in the garden in June. That article also tells you what you spray, including organic suggestions. The other articles in this month’s issue include one on the beautiful and…

seeds

New seed library is forming; first meeting set for March 4

The first organizational meeting of a new group, the Green Sun Seed Library/Bank, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 4 in the auditorium of the Niagara Branch Library, 280 Porter Ave., Buffalo. There is a small parking lot next to the library and plenty of parking spaces on the street. The library is on the #5 Niagara bus line. The group intends to hold seed/plant swaps, organic growing workshops and other educational events. During the meeting,…

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…

organic garden in Cambria NY

Tour acres of gardens, get organic gardening tips during Lockport in Bloom

by Connie Oswald Stofko When some people go on a garden walk, they want to visit only the gardens that are clustered closely together. If you do that on Lockport in Bloom, you’ll miss this treasure. Jan and Craig Powley have seven acres of land– Three acres are horse pasture, and the horses provide a ready supply of manure for the organic flower gardens and vegetable gardens and the remaining acreage. You can see these gardens in person on the…

bee and milkweed flower in Buffalo

No, there’s no labeling on use of neonicotinoids in plants or seeds

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: Hi Connie, How can we be sure that we aren’t buying plants that have been treated with neonics, or grown from seeds containing neonics? Is there a standard label to look for? Or certain brands that don’t deal in them? Thanks. Kristen Buffalo Since I’m not a gardening expert, I contacted someone who knows more about  neonicotinoids, which are used in pest control. I talked to John Farfaglia, the…

Learn how to have a pretty garden while being kind to the environment at Lockwood’s Fall Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko We gardeners want to be kind to the environment, but it can seem so complicated. We may know that we should have a sustainable landscape, though many of us probably can’t define exactly what that means. We should be organic, which encompasses so many different gardening practices. Can we do it all and have a pretty garden at the same time? Yes, and gardening expert Sally Cunningham will tell you how during a talk at 10…

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…

Kate Johnson at Dairy Ag Festival Springville NY

Got clay? Don’t want to dig? Want a new bed over lawn? Try lasagna gardening in autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s autumn, and here’s an outside project you can do today: create a lasagna garden. Lasagna gardening is a method where you apply material to your garden bed in layers, like in a lasagna. Lasagna gardening has several advantages: You don’t have to till or dig your garden bed. The technique works with clay or other poor soil. You can create a new bed over lawn. It’s not labor intensive. It’s organic. You don’t have to…

grow tunnel in Buffalo NY

Grow tunnel lets you grow veggies during winter in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The temperature was in the teens this past weekend, but the vegetables in the grow tunnel at City Honors School in Buffalo are still going strong. In this video, Caesandra Seawell, garden manager, shows us how the grow tunnel can extend the gardening season, allowing us to grow vegetables in autumn and winter in Western New York. She describes how the grow tunnel was constructed, and it seems pretty easy. There have been some developments since…