vinca minor in Amherst NY by Stofko

Fungal disease may affect vinca minor, plus more info from Master Gardeners

If you’re noticing dying stems and leaves on your vinca minor (also known as myrtle or periwinkle), it might not be due to the dry weather. It might be a fungal disease. You find out more in the article “Potential Problem with Vinca Minor,” one of the articles in September’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In This Month in the Garden, you get tips on planting cool-season crops…

tomato late blight

Late blight can occur even in dry weather, plus three more articles from Master Gardeners

Is tomato late blight and potato late blight possible in a dry year? Unfortunately, yes. Late blight is the fungus-like disease that has caused devastating losses to tomato and potato gardeners and growers in some recent years. It develops and spreads rapidly in a wet year. But high relative humidity is all late blight needs to develop, not rain. If you have late blight, you should take steps to reduce risk to your other plants– and to the plants of…

small waterfall in front yard in Buffalo NY

Eclectic garden changes throughout the seasons

by Connie Oswald Stofko “It’s not meant to look perfect or manicured,” Dr. Kenton Bruce Anderson said of his front yard at 44 Montrose Ave., Buffalo. “It’s meant to be carefree, but look as if somebody takes care of it.” You can see this fun garden on the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16. The walk will also feature a night tour called Capen by Night from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m….

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….

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

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…