pumpkin turning orange in Amherst NY

History & uses of pumpkin, plus more gardening tips

Pumpkins have become part of our autumn decorations, but don’t forget that you can use them as food, too. In this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension, the article “Let’s Celebrate Pumpkins” gives you ideas on how to use pumpkins. It also shares a history of pumpkins. In the article “This Month in the Garden,” get great suggestions and reminders for October gardening tasks. In “Fall Webworm,” find out about this…

seeds

Free seed library starting in Amherst for organic veggies, herbs, flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Brenda Snyder was looking for a seed bank–a place where seeds are collected and shared–but she couldn’t find one in Western New York. “There were no seed banks I could even drive to,” Snyder said. “I thought, ‘How is that even possible?’ I decided somebody just needed to take the bull by the horns and get it rolling.” Working with other volunteers, she is setting up the WNY Seed Library, a free seed library for anyone who wants…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight found in WNY; use fungicide before symptoms appear on tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight is a devastating disease for tomatoes and potatoes, and the disease was confirmed yesterday in Chautauqua County. It will likely show up in the rest of Western New York soon, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Late blight is able to spread quickly, “especially if we get more rainy days like today,” he said. Late blight probably showed up first in Chautauqua County because the Southern Tier has…

heirloom lettuce in Amherst NY

It’s time to plant your second vegetable garden of the year

by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer of Allegany County Here it is, the early part of August. You’ve already planted your Garden 101; now it’s time to plant Garden 102. By now, the peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, early green beans, broccoli and early potatoes are done in the garden. Don’t let the empty space go to waste, or worse yet, go to seed. Any vegetable that matures in 60-75 days will do well in late summer. The hardy ones will grow…

tomato late blight

Late & early blights: dealing with these diseases of tomatoes, potatoes

by Steven Jakobi, Allegany County Master Gardener Volunteer Gardeners love growing tomatoes, and losing them to disease can be disappointing. There are two blights to watch out for: late blight and early blight. These can affect potatoes as well. Causes of late blight and early blight There are two very different blight diseases that affect tomatoes and potatoes (and some of their relatives in the plant family Solanaceae). Late blight, caused by the fungus-like water mold, Phytophthora infestans, is a…

Tomato CherokeePurple courtesy Burpee Home Gardens

What tomatoes taste the best?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When I asked Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, for recommendations on the best-tasting tomatoes, I expected her to deliberate for awhile. I was surprised when she answered immediately. “Oh, that’s easy,” Weber said. “‘Cherokee Purple’, and for a red tomato, ‘Glamour’.” Those are both heirloom tomatoes. When I asked her for the best-tasting hybrid tomato, that question proved more difficult. “I don’t have a preference,” she said. “To me, they all taste the…

soil in garden

Why pH uses that weird scale & other great info from WNY Gardening Matters

Why is pH expressed with numbers on such a weird scale? Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, answers that question and offers more useful information about pH in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The way we measure acidity has to do with the taste of beer, Harlos explains in her article. A slight change in acidity can result in a big change in the taste of beer, so…

buckwheat

Consider cover crops for your garden; get seed now

  by Deb Bigelow, Master Gardener volunteer, and Colleen Cavagna, Community/Consumer Horticulture Educator with Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension Now that cover crop seed is widely available in small quantities for home gardeners, it’s easier than ever to incorporate these wonder-workers into your garden plans. Cover crops are helpful for beds that are too weedy to give good yields or that need organic matter. They can also attract pollinators and slow erosion. You might think of farms when you think of cover crops,…

container garden in front yard

Not sure where to create garden bed? Try it out with containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Our front lawn is big and open, so it used to be the place to play catch or soccer. Now that the kids are grown, I thought I’d use some of that space for growing plants other than grass. Since the front yard is a bit sunnier than the back, I especially wanted to try vegetables, which need some sun. The problem was that I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted the new garden to be….

path to lovely vegetable garden in Lancaster

Gorgeous vegetable garden is focus of Lancaster landscape

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants. One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do. Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard. Bednarczyk…