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…

Kate Johnson at Dairy Ag Festival Springville NY

Got clay? Don’t want to dig? Want a new bed over lawn? Try lasagna gardening in autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s autumn, and here’s an outside project you can do today: create a lasagna garden. Lasagna gardening is a method where you apply material to your garden bed in layers, like in a lasagna. Lasagna gardening has several advantages: You don’t have to till or dig your garden bed. The technique works with clay or other poor soil. You can create a new bed over lawn. It’s not labor intensive. It’s organic. You don’t have to…

tomatoes in early autumn Amherst NY

Four things to do in your early autumn garden

It’s officially autumn in Western New York, but that doesn’t mean we’re done working in our gardens. We’ve had a lovely stretch of warm and sunny weather, so it’s been a pleasure to work outside, and that pleasant weather should continue for a few more days. Whether you want to be productive or are just looking for an excuse to get outdoors, here are some things you can do in your garden now. Water your plants It has been sunny…

frostfog courtesy Donna Brok Garden Walk Garden Talk

Frost is only weeks (days?) away in WNY; protect tender plants to prolong growing season

It’s just a matter of weeks (or perhaps days) before we get frost in Western New York. Although he doesn’t know of any parts of Western New York that have gotten frost yet, there was a frost advisory Sunday night for the Town of Andover in Allegany County, said Mark Holt, Agriculture-Horticulture community educator for Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. That frost advisory prompted him to send along some tips on protecting tender plants from frost….

You can still plant perennials, fall veggies and fruit trees & shrubs in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The gardening season is still under way in Western New York. You can plant flowering perennials, cool-weather vegetables and fruit trees and shrubs now. Perennials You can safely plant perennials now through mid-September, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Some landscapers and other gardening folks may say you can plant perennials well into October, he said, but he doesn’t recommend waiting that long because you want to…

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…