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….

petunias, ranunculus and other cool-weather plants

Plant some things now; others have to wait until after last frost—or longer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a question that I received from a reader: Hello, I saw that the last frost for my area (in Hamburg) is possible as late as May 22; should I really wait so long to plant anything?  Mariely Ann Ortiz Actually, there are lots of things you can plant outside right now! But some things have to wait until after the last frost — or even longer. And that date you have of May 22…

daffodil buds in spring in Western New York

Things you can do in your garden in this warm(ish) weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yesterday I took some kitchen scraps out to my compost bin. The air temperature was only about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was surprised by how warm it felt in the sun. It made me want to putter in my garden. But don’t rush things. One thing you have to be concerned about is walking around on a wet lawn or garden bed. Walking on wet soil can compact the soil, which isn’t good for your…

seeds

New seed library for WNY opens; it’s free!

by Connie Oswald Stofko The WNY Seed Library–the first free seed library of its kind in Western New York– has opened in Amherst. “There was no place in Western New York where you can get seeds for free,” said Brenda Snyder, who started working on the WNY Seed Library in June 2018. Food security is one of her goals. She feels that no one should go without food because they can’t afford it. The seed library aims to provide heirloom…

lettuce plants in box on chair in Hamburg NY

Bad knees, no yard, little money? You can still garden!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “I have so many friends who say, ‘I can’t garden anymore,’ said Margaret O’Brian of Huntington Ct., Hamburg. As they get older, they have bad knees or other ailments that they didn’t have to contend with when they were younger. She tells them: “You may not be able to garden like you used to, so just switch it up.” One way to do that is through container gardening. Container gardening is planting things in pots and other…