daffodil in March snow

Tomatoes & daffodils: when you can’t wait for spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seemed like we had winter and summer at the same time last week. There was plenty of snow at our house to make a snowman, and my husband participated while wearing shorts! In spite of that, it’s not spring yet– not even on the calendar! But here are a couple of topics for this time of the year when we can’t wait for spring. A trick to plant (some) seeds outside now Last week we…

seed packets from Botanical Interests

Start seeds now (or soon) for cool weather veggies in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can get a head start on gardening in Western New York by sowing seeds for cool weather vegetables such as onions, endive and cabbage. In this article, Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo, lays out the details on starting cool weather vegetables from seed. Some cool weather vegetables can be started inside now–or soon–depending on the last frost date in your area. Other seeds are sown directly…

overall garden in snow by Connie Oswald Stofko

How to make your garden look great in winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is your garden exciting in winter? Do you enjoy gazing at all its beautiful features? Or are you one of those people who didn’t even know it’s possible to have a garden that looks great in winter? Today we’ll take a look at a Pendleton garden has been featured on Open Gardens. It’s amazing in the summer, but it sparkles in winter, too! Tom and Darcie Homme had lived in Lockport before they moved 11 years…

daffodils in garden in spring

Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them. Michelle I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said: “This can…

cutting from a coleus

Take cuttings of annuals now while the plant is in its prime

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to take cuttings of annuals to take inside for the winter, now is is the time to do it. Cuttings need to be taken while the plants are in their prime, not after they start to fade, said Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature. The coleus in the photo can be rooted easily placing the cutting in a glass or small vase of water. Tip: Cut off the leaves on the part of…

lettuce and kale plants

How to get a second crop of vegetables & herbs this year in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can harvest vegetables and herbs into the fall–and even winter–when you plant cool weather vegetables at this time of year. Unlike plants such as tomatoes and peppers that need warm weather to thrive, cool weather vegetables are plants that actually like the cooler temperatures. Some can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. See the table below for more than 20 herbs and vegetables you can still plant this year. “Many experienced gardeners, not…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…

snowball hydrangea

4 ideas for hostess gifts and holiday gifts for gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and from there we rush headlong into any number of holiday celebrations. Here are four ideas for thoughtful gifts to give gardeners and non-gardeners alike. ‘Snowball’ hydrangea We’re starting off with the ‘Snowball’ hydrangea because it can serve as a festive accent in your home from Thanksgiving through all the winter holidays. This potted plant will last probably a couple months, according to Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville….

sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…