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…

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…

pansies

It’s spring in Buffalo! 7 gardening tasks you can do outside now

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s spring on the calendar, and it feels likes spring in our gardens, too! Snowdrops and crocuses are blooming while daffodils and hyacinths are budding. It’s been sunny and warm outside! Here are a few things you can do in your spring garden in Western New York. Take a walk in your yard Pick up any trash that has blown into your yard. See if you have damage from rabbits, deer or…

daffodil in March snow

Tomatoes & daffodils: when you can’t wait for spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seemed like we had winter and summer at the same time last week. There was plenty of snow at our house to make a snowman, and my husband participated while wearing shorts! In spite of that, it’s not spring yet– not even on the calendar! But here are a couple of topics for this time of the year when we can’t wait for spring. A trick to plant (some) seeds outside now Last week we…

seed packets from Botanical Interests

Start seeds now (or soon) for cool weather veggies in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can get a head start on gardening in Western New York by sowing seeds for cool weather vegetables such as onions, endive and cabbage. In this article, Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo, lays out the details on starting cool weather vegetables from seed. Some cool weather vegetables can be started inside now–or soon–depending on the last frost date in your area. Other seeds are sown directly…

plants at Urban Roots in Buffalo NY

Don’t panic– there will still be plants to buy after Memorial Day

by Connie Oswald Stofko Many gardeners are in the habit of buying all their plants on Memorial Day weekend. Garden centers have always been packed. Because of the pandemic, this year garden centers have to limit the number of people they can let in at one time. There won’t be crowds to deal with (yay!), but not everyone will be able to stock up this weekend. Don’t worry. There will still be plenty of plants to buy next week. “You…

snow in May 2020

Mow, snow, grow: wild spring weather in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko We had a mild winter and last month it seemed that spring had arrived in Western New York. There was a lot of rain, but every so often the rain took a break and people mowed their lawns. But there were stretches when it seemed like it was constantly cloudy. We yearned for sunshine! But this past week really made us shake our heads. The mowing days alternated with snowing days. Big, fat snowflakes floated in…

Elle Pots at Mike Weber in West Seneca NY

Mike Weber’s introduces ‘4-packs without the plastic’

by Connie Oswald Stofko You’re probably familiar with four-packs and six-packs, those plastic containers that hold four or six small plants. This year Mike Weber Greenhouses is introducing something called Elle Pots. “Think of a four- or six-pack without all that plastic,” said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. The Elle Pots start with a tube of strong, biodegradable paper that is filled with potting mix. Seeds or cuttings are planted into…

pea starts at Mischler's

Plant cool-weather vegetables in garden now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Peas, lettuce, broccoli and beets are some of the vegetables you can plant in your garden now. These are cool-weather crops that don’t mind the chilly temperatures we have at this time of year. You can start these plants from seed or you can buy vegetable starts (small plants), said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. “With plant starts, you can have an instant garden,” Yadon said. But don’t…

red lily leaf beetle by

Start to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this message from Tess in Binghamton: “Red lily beetles have arrived early! Picked a dozen of them out of the flower bed today, March 20, 2020, in Binghamton NY area!!” It’s not too early to start looking for them in Western New York, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County “They do show up early, as soon as the foliage breaks ground,” Farfaglia said. In past years, “I’ve gotten calls…