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…

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…