spotted wing drosophila courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension

Mushy fruit? You might have invasive fruit fly called spotted wing drosophila

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re having problems with your fruit this year, it might be due to an invasive fruit fly called the spotted wing drosophila. The fruit fly is in Western New York. Cornell Cooperative Extension representatives in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties told me it has been found those counties, and it has been found in other counties as well. One of the biggest tell-tale signs of damage from the spotted wing drosophila is beautiful looking fruit…

Chef to demonstrate cooking with herbs Aug. 23 at Mischler’s; tips on growing herbs, too

Herbs can add so much to the dishes we prepare– if you know how to use herbs well. Chef Andrew Marino of the Irishman Pub and Eatery in Williamsville will present a free demonstration and tasting called “Cooking With Herbs” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Using plants available at Mischler’s, Marino will teach you how to make and plate special herb-inspired dishes. You can buy the plants and take…

big planter on deck in Buffalo NY

Create a no-bending, no-kneeling garden like this one in Buffalo

  by Connie Oswald Stofko JoAnn Yager has a small garden along the fence in her backyard, but the plants there struggle. “They never grew,” she said, “and it was too hard bending and weeding.” This year she tried something new. Her reward is that she is surrounded by flowers and herbs and vegetables, plus she eliminated all that bending and kneeling. Her trick? She used containers on her back deck. Yager shared her tips during the Black Rock &…

Trellis can support vines & shade lettuce; see 3 examples from Lockwood’s community garden

You can provide support for vining vegetables such as squash or cucumbers, while at the same time providing shade for lettuce, which likes cooler temperatures, with a simple trellis. I saw three different examples built by clever gardeners earlier this summer at the community garden at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. Anyone can rent a parcel in the community garden, which is a wonderfully sunny area. Parcels are $85 for 4 feet by 50 feet (200 square feet) and…

Clay, tree roots & shade: Get tips in this video

by Connie Oswald Stofko I love Western New York gardeners. I tried waiting out the rain Sunday, but it just kept getting worse, so around 1 p.m. I made my way out to the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View, a garden walk that covers parts of Amherst and Cheektowaga. I stopped at the home of Terrie and Jerry Newman at 194 Lamarck Dr. The description on the map said they had struggled with clay soil, something that a lot of Western New…

Plant food now: broccoli & other veggies from seed for fall as well as fruit trees & bushes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If your garden was wet or you were busy and didn’t get any food plants in your garden this spring, don’t fret. It’s not too late. You can plant vegetables, including broccoli, from seed. You can also plant fruit trees and bushes. Vegetables Now is the time to plant seeds for many vegetables that you can harvest in fall. In addition to broccoli, seeds that you can sow now include lima beans, coriander, dill, collards and…

garlic scapes in Western New York

It’s time to harvest garlic scapes in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you grow garlic plants in Western New York, you don’t harvest the bulbs until late summer, but you can harvest the scapes right now. Your hard neck garlic plants have probably developed curlicue stems called scapes, which are the flower stalks. While they look great in your garden, if you leave them in place they will divert the plant’s energy from the underground bulb. If you want a nice large head of garlic, cut off…

plants from garden center in Western New York

5 tips for shopping for plants this weekend in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko This weekend is probably the biggest shopping weekend for gardeners. Our gardens should be dry enough to dig in by now, and by the end of May, the danger of frost should have passed, so we’re all excited to buy tender plants and put them in our gardens now. To help you get the most out of your shopping excursion, take a look at these tips. Decide what you want to get out of your garden…

Tomato Old German courtesy Terra Organic

Heirloom tomatoes aren’t pretty, but can be fun to grow

by Connie Oswald Stofko Heirloom tomatoes may look weird to you. They’re purple or creamy yellow or even striped. And that’s why some people like them. “From that angle, they’re really fun,” said Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. You can buy heirloom tomatoes now at Mike Weber Greenhouses, and if you want to plant them now, go for it, Weber said. She has checked with Western New York  farmers and they are…

el at Pelion Garden in Buffalo NY

Grow tunnel and herb garden under leaves: Did the plants survive this cold winter?

by Connie Oswald Stofko In November, Caesandra Seawell, garden manager, showed us how she extends the growing season in the Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School in Buffalo. She insulated the herb bed by adding a thick blanket of leaves and, after two frosts this fall, the parsley was still green. On another raised bed with a grow tunnel, the broccoli, kale and cabbage were still doing well even though the temperature had dipped to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. But…