succulents blooming in September

Seven ideas for autumn gardening in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s officially autumn on the calendar, but there are still gardening things to do. Here are some ideas we have shared in past articles. Even if they’re not new to you, it’s always good to get a reminder. Tasks you can do in your autumn garden: Harvest, weed, water & enjoy Debug your houseplants before bringing them inside Test soil and amend it if necessary Enjoy waves of spring color in a single spot or even…

green tomatoes

How to ripen green tomatoes before frost or late blight damages them

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader, and it’s probably something that will help other gardeners, too. My tomatoes have just started to ripen. If I pick them totally green, before they get late blight, will they ripen in a bushel basket? Paula You can pick green tomatoes and get them to ripen with flavor and color similar to what you would have gotten if they were ripened in the field, according to this article from…

symptoms of late blight on tomatoes

Bad news: Late blight could be coming to your tomatoes

Late blight was detected in Genesee, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties on Aug. 16, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension in Genesee and Chautauqua counties. It could make its way to other parts of Western New York, too, because it can spread dozens of miles on storm fronts. Late blight is a serious disease that can kill tomato and potato plants in just one week, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County. It’s best known for causing the Irish potato famine….

garden trellis from old swing frame

Old swing frame is repurposed as a trellis for cucumbers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Phyllis Lobbins, a Master Gardener from Cheektowaga, had a swing frame that might have gone out to trash, but she came up with a great use for it: She made it into a trellis for her cucumbers and squash. “I used regular garden twine because that was all I had on hand at the time,” Lobbins said, “but I would prefer using nylon string, or something that would not break down as quickly as twine. “I…

chives in flower in Amherst NY

Which herbs bolt, which herbs flower and why it makes a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is bolting versus flowering? In both cases, the plant produces a flower. Flowering occurs as a natural part of the plant’s life and generally doesn’t affect the taste of leaves. Bolting occurs when a plant is stressed, often because the temperatures got too warm for that plant’s liking. The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed. Bolting diverts resources away from the leaves, which…

large vegetable garden on East Side of Buffalo

Tip on watering, plus this weekend’s garden walk

I got this great tip when I visited a garden on the East Side Garden Walk on July 20. Garden walk season isn’t over yet. There’s the Northwest Buffalo Tour of Gardens this weekend and the Black Squirrel Home and Garden Walk coming up on Aug. 10. Make sure you water the roots The vegetable garden at 261 Maple St. is huge and it takes two days to water, said David Lewis. Lewis maintains the garden for his relative, Cecil…

symptoms of late blight on tomatoes

Late blight spotted nearby; report it if you see it on your tomatoes

Late blight, a devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes, has been detected in northern Pennsylvania (Erie County, Pennsylvania). If you see it on your plants, please contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension in your county. Late blight is best known for causing the Irish Potato Famine and can kill plants in just one week, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County. It is caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads dozens of miles on storm fronts, so it could come to your…

brown and yellow leaves on bottom of tomato plant

Why are leaves on my tomato plant turning yellow or brown?

by Connie Oswald Stofko The leaves on the bottom of my tomato plants are turning yellow, then brown. Don’t worry; it’s normal, says Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses at 42 French Rd., West Seneca. “That’s what happens when the plant starts making tomatoes,” she said. “It’s better to have an ugly plant with lots of tomatoes than the other way around. By the end of summer, you should have a dead-looking tomato plant.” That’s what…

two bees on a flower

Good news for bees, plus more from Master Gardeners

Due to the much publicized and well researched problems caused by neonicotinoids, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned 12 pesticides because of the harmful effect neonicotinoids have on bees, according to “Good News for Bees and the Environment” by Lyn Chimera. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. That article is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by…

garlic plants with scapes

It’s almost time to harvest garlic; when can you plant?

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can generally harvest garlic in mid- or late-July. The foliage starts to die back, which is an indication that the garlic is ready. Once your garlic is harvested, you’ll have an empty spot in your garden until October, the recommended time to plant garlic. But do we have to wait until October to plant garlic? As we discussed in a previous article, maybe not. Last year, I planted my garlic in intervals starting in August….