Heat wave in WNY: Protect your garden and yourself

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s a heat advisory for Western New York through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. (There might also be thunderstorms and damaging winds, so watch the forecast in your area.) What do high temperatures mean for your garden–and for yourself? Protect your garden in heat wave Watering is a high priority for your garden during a heat wave. High temperatures will quickly dry out the soil, so it’s important to keep watering your plants. Which…

flower lettuce for winter seed sowing in Western New York

Is it too late for winter sowing in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko This could be the warmest winter in the history of record-keeping in Western New York. Yesterday it was sunny with a high of 53 degrees Fahrenheit in Buffalo, and overnight it never reached freezing. It was even warmer today—We broke the previous record of 64 degrees for this date. Maybe it’s too warm to do winter sowing. But then again, WNY will have a high in the 20s on Thursday. So maybe we can still do…

bent arborvitaes after snow storm in Hamburg NY

Did snow & wind damage your WNY garden? Don’t panic

by Connie Oswald Stofko David Clark, CNLP has sad arborvitaes in his Hamburg yard. “They’re about 15 feet tall, but they’re bent lower than my knees,” he told me over the weekend. While that’s bad, it’s not as bad as it could be because the soil wasn’t frozen yet. The roots of the arborvitaes could come out of the ground a little bit and allow the shrubs to tip, preventing the trunk from snapping. Your azaleas and rhododendrons will be…

rain barrel pouring water into used milk jug

Reminder: Keep watering your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Blue skies! Highs in the 80s! What more could we want in Western New York? We might be celebrating, but are your plants happy? We haven’t had much rain in the past month, plus we’ve had hot, breezy conditions. That sucks the moisture out of the soil. Make sure you are watering often enough. Concentrate your watering efforts on these plants: See the U.S. Drought Monitor here. Most of Western New York is abnormally dry, while…

lettuce and climate change and tomato illustration in Western New York

Impact of wildfire smoke on veggies should be minor; tips on climate change

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners worried about how the smoke from the recent Canadian wildfires would affect vegetable plants in Western New York, but “The good news is the impact will be minimal at worst,” according to Steve Reiners, professor in Horticulture at Cornell University, Cornell AgriTech. Smoke-filled skies decrease sunlight and reduce photosynthesis, but only to a small degree and temporarily, Reiners said. Despite the shade, there was still enough diffused light penetrating the smoke to maintain growth.  Smoke…

snow on evergreen in Amherst NY

Winter solstice: days will be getting longer in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Surprise! Tomorrow is the first day of winter. Yes, Western New York has snow on the ground, and parts of Western New York got 80 inches of snow in November, but that’s just weather. We’re talking about how close–or far away– Western New York is to the sun. As the Earth spins on its axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets closer or farther away from the sun. When the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest point, we…

rain

Drought watch ends in WNY; don’t burn leaves

Six Western New York counties have been taken off drought watch: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.  The drought watch was designated in August due to the below-normal precipitation during the previous three months. There have also been low stream flows and low groundwater levels. The status of these counties was changed Oct. 9 because of recent rainfall and higher levels of ground and surface water. Now all of Western New York is is in the normal range. A…

frost

Dealing with frost in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official first day of autumn arrived last Thursday, and immediately, it seemed, Western New York temperatures took a nose dive. An overnight frost advisory was issued last week for Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. This week overnight temperatures may dip into the 30s in many parts of Western New York. That’s significant because frost can occur even if the air temperature is above freezing, according to our previous article. The article also explains why even 36-degree…

pansies in a watering can at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

Get pansies now to brighten outdoor spaces, large & small

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pansies are in bloom now and can add color to your garden, porch or patio. While cold temperatures won’t kill pansies, temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit can damage the blooms, said Jessica Limardi, who is on the staff at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Nightime temperatures may get that low in the coming week. “Without a good thick blanket of snow, the flowers can get damaged, so pull them close to the…

purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…