onion transplants in West Seneca NY

How to grow onions that are big

by Connie Oswald Stofko A gardener asked me awhile back to do a story on how to grow onions that are big– like the ones you can get in the grocery store. I know nothing about growing onions, so I talked to Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. It’s all in the spacing, Weber said. If you want to grow big onions, plant them far apart. You can start with small onion plants…

vegetables herbs and flowers in pot in West Seneca

Why you should plant veggies in containers, plus a shocking tip on caring for veggies!

by Connie Oswald Stofko First of all, there is still time to plant vegetables. The best time to plant vegetables is the first week in June until about June 10, said Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. The ground is warm, the nights are warm and the danger of frost has passed. So yes, you still have time to plant vegetables, but do it soon–The Fourth of July is too late, she said….

Let’s clear up confusion on using bark as mulch, plus tips for May and news on spotted lantern fly

by Connie Oswald Stofko Articles are now available in the May edition of the new online publication called WNY Gardening Matters produced by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners in Erie County. These articles are free. The Master Gardeners tell me when the newest articles are available and I share them with you. In this issue are: Woof! No, Bark! You may have heard that using bark as mulch is good because it provides nutrition for your plants, or that…

broccoli in Parkside garden in Buffalo NY

Time to plant seeds indoors for cool weather vegetables

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can plant seeds indoors now for cool-weather vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, said Julie Emerling, a grower at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. Cool-weather crops are ones that you’re going to plant outside around mid-April, depending on the weather. (Tender crops such as tomatoes and peppers are planted outside after the danger of frost has passed, which is usually Memorial Day or the end of May. It’s too soon to…

Brown marmorated stink bug

There’s a new bug in Western New York and it might eat plants in your garden

by Dana Santasiero There’s a new bug in Western New York and there are two main things you need to know about it. First, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is called a stink bug because when you step on it, it smells. Second, it could eat the plants in your garden. The good news is even though it is big and ugly, it won’t hurt you. You might find it in your house over the winter but it’ll just be…

straw bale gardening

Save those straw bales; grow vegetable plants in them next spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you are using a straw bale in your autumn decorations, don’t throw it away! You can grow tomatoes and other vegetables in it next spring. I saw photos of the technique called straw bale gardening on the Vegetable Gardeners of WNY Facebook page. I was delighted that Gina and Tony Kruzel allowed me to visit their Kenmore home early in October to see what they had done. They decided to try straw bale gardening because…

raised bed made with cinder blocks

Are cinder blocks OK for vegetable gardens? Answers to that & other soil safety questions

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it safe to use cinder blocks in a raised bed, or might chemicals from the concrete blocks leach out of the blocks to contaminate your soil and food plants you grow there? Can you use pressure treated lumber? Can you grow food plants in the hellstrip, the area between the street and sidewalk? John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, responded to my questions on soil safety. Cinder blocks in raised…

sochi tea plant from One Green World

Tea plants are back; get other unusual fruit, nut & berry plants at Lockwood’s

When we first told you about Sochi tea plants— the kind of plants you can use to make a cup of tea– they were so popular, they sold out. Well, Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg, has them back in stock. You can keep these plants outside in the summer, but bring them inside in the fall. What makes this plant even more attractive is that in the fall it gets white flowers that are fragrant. See more about caring…

yarn around tomato cage in Buffalo NY area

Help a reader: Is it safe to use concrete reinforcing wire around tomatoes?

by Connie Oswald Stofko A reader sent me this gardening question that I can’t answer, but I hope one of my readers can. Can we use concrete reinforcing wire in our gardens? If you can answer his question, please leave a comment below. Here’s the whole question: Hi Connie.  I have a question for you or one of your readers.  I’ve read a lot about using concrete reinforcing wire to make sturdy tomato cages.  All I’ve ever seen about that wire is…

Eggplant Patio Baby from AAS

Grow tomatoes & eggplant in a small space, or try the hottest peppers in the world

by Connie Oswald Stofko People often tell me they have no room to garden, but if you have room for a pot or hanging basket, you have room to garden. Gardening in containers counts as gardening! Today the folks at Lockwood’s Greenhouses tell us about a smaller, compact version of eggplant that’s well suited to containers, as well as a cascading cherry tomato that you can grow in a hanging basket. Then they tell us about bhut jolokia, the hottest…