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…

cut dead perennials in spring in Buffalo NY

17 reminders for your early spring garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko As I sat outside yesterday in shorts and bare feet, it felt as if summer was here to stay. But that’s how it feels every spring in Western New York, and every year our spring weather takes us on a roller coaster ride. The high was in the 70s yesterday, yet you know we’re still going to get freezing temperatures before summer really arrives. Some years we’ve had flakes of snow flying around in the air in May. I know…

Fascinating green roof project under way in Springville; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Springville Center for the Arts is seeking volunteers to start seedlings for its green roof project. You’ll get seeds that you are asked to start in containers and nurture until they’re ready to be transplanted onto the green roof. You don’t have to live in Springville to participate. In addition to the seedling program, volunteers are needed for the installation of the green roof on the building that the arts center is rehabilitating at  5 East Main…

Start seeds inside now for cool-weather crops; start seeds for tomatoes in a few weeks in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s finally time for us to start thinking about starting seeds inside! Cool-weather vegetables Let’s keep our fingers crossed that all this snow melts at a nice, steady pace so that our garden beds will be dry enough to for us to plant cool-weather vegetables in April. As the folks from Lockwood’s Greenhouses in Hamburg told us in a previous article, cool-weather vegetables are the crops that can take some cooler weather and light frosts. They…

Jacob's Cattle Beans from Jim Tammaro in Williamsville NY

Heirloom gardening seminar set for Feb. 21 at Genesee Country Village & Museum

An heirloom gardening seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 at Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford. The day-long program will feature sessions on growing and using herbs, cooking with heirloom vegetables, seed saving and an exclusive look at the heirloom seed catalog collection at Cornell University. There will also be an opportunity to taste some special dishes prepared by the museum’s village staff for those seeking a unique culinary…

Artichoke-ImperialStar from WAtleeBurpee

Want a plant that is different, pretty and yummy? Try artichokes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to try something different in your spring garden this year, the folks at Lockwood’s Greenhouses suggest the artichoke. If you like to cook and eat artichokes, you’ll naturally be drawn to this plant, but it’s interesting in several ways to gardeners. First, it gets beautiful gray-green foliage, making it a wonderful accent plant, said Teresa Buchanan, garden center manager. You can enjoy it as a lovely addition to your flower bed. The plant…

Start seeds outside now using milk jug, other containers in ‘winter sowing’

by Connie Oswald Stofko This is actually an update of a tip from David Clark, the nationally known horticulture speaker who teaches at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Winter sowing is great because it gives us gardeners in Western New York something to do when it’s cold and snowy out. You plant hardy seeds in old milk jugs or other containers and set the containers outside now. The seeds will know when they should sprout in the spring….

plum tomatoes in Buffalo NY area

Rotate vegetable plants to prevent disease, discourage pests & keep soil healthy

by Connie Oswald Stofko “People will tell me, ‘I’ve been growing tomatoes in this same spot for 15 years and I’ve never had a problem with disease,” said Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, garden writer and teacher. “I tell them, ‘You’ve been lucky.’” Harlos suggests that you rotate your plants in your vegetable garden about every three years to discourage pests and prevent disease. Rotating vegetables means placing them in a different spot in your garden. An important thing to…

sunchokes in pot in Amherst NY

Control sunchokes by planting them in pots; I’ll share sunchokes with you

What’s not to like about sunchokes? They grow dramatically in one season, reaching heights of 10 feet. In September, when other plants are losing steam, sunchokes are just starting to flower. They add a lot of interest to your garden. Plus you can eat them! Find out more about sunchokes  (also called Jerusalem artichokes) here. I have to admit there is one drawback with sunchokes– The roots do spread a lot. The root is the part you eat, and even…