lettuce and kale plants

Reminder: Plant now for fall, winter crops

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can plant a second crop of cool weather vegetables now in Western New York. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables actually like cooler temperatures. Cool weather vegetables include basil, beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, peas, radishes and spinach. Here are some reasons why you should try planting cool weather vegetables now: Plants such as lettuce won’t bolt in the autumn like they do when temperatures get warm in spring. Basil likes warm night temperatures…

garlic scapes in Western New York

Reminder: It’s time to harvest garlic scapes in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I love garlic because it’s easy to grow. Plus, you get two harvests per season! The first harvest is when you cut the scapes and the second is when you dig up the bulbs. Harvesting garlic scapes The curlicue stems, which are the flower stalks, are called scapes. You should cut off the scapes. If you don’t, the plant will divert resources away from the bulb to the scape, leaving you with a smaller bulb. Besides,…

green peppers on plant

What to do with your extra plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Have you ever bought plants and found you had extras? You have space for two cherry tomato plants and one beefsteak, but each variety comes in a package of four. What do you do with the extras? First, are you sure you don’t have space? You don’t need a lot of space to garden. Containers aren’t just for flowers; you can plant vegetables in containers, too. One local gardener I met planted fruit trees in containers….

tomato on vine

15 tips for vegetable gardens in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just beginning to grow vegetables, you’ll find great tips here from Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca.  She covers the basics– vegetables need sun– to more random tricks– always plant very hot peppers in containers. Browse through these tips to see how you can improve your vegetable garden this year. Find a sunny space Most vegetables need six straight hours of sun….

sweet potatoes

Is it a yam or sweet potato, plus more from Master Gardeners

Your supermarket may call them yams, but they are probably sweet potatoes, according to an article in the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters. A true “sweet potato” is not a yam. And a sweet potato isn’t a potato, either. Find out more about sweet potatoes and yams in this article by Carol Ann Harlos. Other articles in this issue are: Not Your Grandmother’s Houseplants Anymore by Vicki Bruning MG Volunteer Meeting Speaker: Dave Zittel by Carol Ann Harlos…

basket of tomatoes and cucumber by Stofko

Reminder: You risk a setback if you rush tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re one of those Western New York gardeners who like to plant your tender vegetables during Mother’s Day weekend, I hope you checked the forecast first. Last night we had a frost advisory for all of Western New York. Tender vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, can’t tolerate frost! In fact, they want nights–nights, not days– that are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be a few days before we see even daytime…

Hawaiian purple sweet potato with shoots

How to grow dozens of sweet potatoes from one

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko From one sweet potato, you can sprout several plants, and you can get as many as six to 10 potatoes from one plant. You can eat the leaves, too! Cheryl Harris, a gardener who grows an amazing variety and amount of vegetables on her double lot in Buffalo, tells us how to grow these tasty and nutritious vegetables. You’ll be able to visit her this year during two events: the East Side…

Brandywise tomato F1

Spotlight on ‘Brandywise’ tomato & more from Master Gardeners

The ‘Brandywise’ tomato is said to pair the rich heirloom flavor of ‘Brandywine’ with disease resistance. Twenty Master Gardeners trialed it last year and it lived up to the hype, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. ‘Brandywise’ was very tasty and firm, free of diseases, prolific and easy to grow. The tomatoes ranged from three to five inches in diameter. See more…

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…