Tasty eggplants that you can’t buy: grow these heirlooms yourself

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may have heard that if you want flavorful tomatoes, go for heirloom varieties. But did you know that there are heirloom and specialty varieties in other vegetables including eggplants, cucumbers and peppers? “These are varieties that you wouldn’t even see in a supermarket,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. Urban Roots carries about 35 varieties of heirloom and specialty vegetable plants. “We choose varieties that…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Lily beetles, veggies, mulch volcanoes: update & tips in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is one update and two reminders for the beginning of the growing season in Western New York. Some gardeners say they have seen fewer red lily leaf beetles in past years. Get tips on growing vegetables in gardens and in containers. Mulch volcanoes are popular, but bad for your trees. Are there fewer red lily leaf beetles in WNY? A few gardeners mentioned to me that they saw fewer red lily leaf beetles in Western…

Great Plant Sale at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Find unusual plants this week at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Great Plant Sale will again be on site in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. There is no admission charge. Your online gardening magazine, Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, is proud to sponsor the Great Plant Sale! I’ll have a table there, too, so please stop by and say hello! The Great Plant Sale will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 13 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m….

tomato on vine

Reminder: Don’t rush to plant tomatoes in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York gardeners who like to get their tomatoes planted outside on Mother’s Day should probably wait a bit longer this year. What are the chances you will get another frost in your area? Even if you don’t get a frost, the forecast calls for lows in the 40s Fahrenheit this week. And the soil is still cold. Find out why putting out your tomatoes too early can actually cause a setback to your plants…

seedlings with seed on bottom

When should you start seeds inside for tender plants in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Tender plants, such as tomatoes, peppers and some flowers, need warm temperatures to thrive, so you want your seedlings to be ready to transplant ouside when the weather is warm. If you plant your seeds inside too early, the weather might still be too cold to transplant outdoors. When should you plant seeds inside to have the plants ready for your garden at the right time? It depends on what you are planting and where you…

purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…

seed packets from Botanical Interests

Reminder: It’s time to start seeds for cool weather veggies in WNY

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 outside. As their name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cooler temperatures in the air and soil, which means you can plant them outside in early spring. Cool weather vegetables include broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, endive and onions. See this previous article where Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, explains the details of starting cool…

mini-greenhouse made from recycled plastic milk jug in Buffalo NY

Reminder: you can plant seeds outside now using winter sowing

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yes, I know there’s snow on the ground and temperatures have been in the single digits here in Western New York. But here’s a gardening task you can do outside now: plant seeds. It’s called winter sowing. You do it by making a mini-greenhouse and using seeds that take cold temperatures. Plant the seeds in your mini-greenhouse, set it in a sheltered area (such as against a fence) and wait for spring. When the temperatures get…

seating area with grape vines in Kenmore NY

Broken fence became wall for charming outdoor room

by Connie Oswald Stofko A wooden fence used to separate this backyard from a parking lot. Unfortunately, plows clearing the lot shoved snow against the fence, and the snow won. Matt and Tashia Tribo of Kenmore replaced the collapsed fence with a cinder block wall and coated it with a veneer of stucco. The wall, which is as beautiful as it is functional, is part of a charming outdoor room. The Tribos’ garage and their neighbors’ garage act as the…

harvesting sage in early winter

Don’t desert your garden yet! Tasks for early winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I wasn’t sure whether to use “early winter” or “late autumn” in the headline. Technically, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. Yet we have already gotten snow and more is in the forecast, so I went with winter. Then again, the snow keeps melting, and many of us still have leaves on the trees. Maybe we should call this season “wintumn.” Whatever you call it, there are still tasks you can do in your garden. Harvest…