New to WNY gardening- when to plant ?

Erika_K(z6 NY)April 17, 2005

Hi everyone,

I have no idea what to expect with the weather here! It was my first real winter with snow here in the Buffalo area -- I moved here last summer from Seattle, where it seemed like my garden flourished without much help from me. :) Now I've moved into a newer subdivision in Clarence where all the houses and yards look very much the same...I wanted to start planting some seeds and annuals, but is it too early to plant sweet peas and sugar snap peas from seed now? Do they do well in this climate? With the weather lately, it seems like spring is here, but I've been told that this is not the norm.

I so miss my old garden (and am heartbroken because the new owners of the Seattle house ripped out the entire garden, including all of the raised beds and trellises, to put in grass and bricks instead) and would like to add a little personality to the yard here. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated...I'm feeling like I don't know where and when to start!

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Hi Erika - this time of year is really still too early to plant in Western NY. You certainly can sow some cool weather crop seeds especially if you have a cold frame or raised bed. You could plant some pansies too but other annuals should wait probably until at least May 10-15th. Traditionally they say you should wait until Memorial Day to plant annuals around here. I usually rush that a little and try to start planting the 15th or so. I will have to say this is probably the nicest month of April I have ever seen in this area. It has been just beautiful! Good luck on your new plans (and sorry about your old gardens - that is sad!.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 9:10PM
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MrsRI(z5 PA/NY)

Hi Erika,
Check out the Winter Sowing Forum, you can start your seeds now and plant out earlier with the W/S method. Good Luck. Melody

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 10:59PM
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mandyb(z5 Buffalo, NY)

Hi Erika,

I am hardly ever on garden web anymore, but saw your post and had to write back. We are neighbors, sort of. I live in Lancaster. If you do want to try winter sowing, I have a couple leftover pre-made containers you can try to get you started. You can start your peas in the ground. My folks always start theirs in the ground on St. Patty's Day. (I think it might just be an Irish thing.) Welcome to WNY and good luck on your new garden!


    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 6:21AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I agree with Melody about wintersowing. I sow whatever I want to grow (usually not hardy here) using the wintersowing method and it grows. I already have sunflowers, salvia azurea hollyhocks,mina vines, garden balsam and a few other things that are ready to go in the ground. THey are already hardened off since they have been outside all winter. My tender perennial salvias that were winter sown last year have been outside since the last snow melted.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 9:27AM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

Welcome, Erika. I'm west a bit in Amherst. You can probably start the peas now. I'd hold off on the annuals -- despite the warm weather the past week or so, it's above average, and the nights can typically still produce a good frost into May. (I know, it's hard to wait.) I usually start tucking annuals in the ground in mid-May.

I know I went to Seattle about five years ago in July, and was insanely jealous of all the lush plants I saw -- everywhere, even at the library and other buildings! Apparently, though, it was a heatwave, a sunny week of around 85 which was heaven to me, but seemed to generate heat warnings and advice to drink iced coffee. Usually, April in Buffalo is a gradual warm-up in the fifties, with cool nights and a lot of rain. Spring is a short season here, and May produces a rapid warmup. From there, summer temperatures will keep going into September.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 9:46AM
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Erika_K(z6 NY)

Thanks so much for all the tips and advice. It definitely gives me a start in the right direction.

It seems like I'll have to start learning about winter sowing...mandyb, I may take you up on your offer if I can get myself organized!

And hammerl, I have to confess that I was among those complaining of a 'heatwave' in 85 degree weather! Anything above 80 or below 40 is too hot or too cold in Seattle, so living in Buffalo has been a real adjustment. :) And yes, beautifully lush plants are everywhere there...I'm convinced that most of my former plants flourished in spite of me!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 8:11PM
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husky004_(z5 NY)

Erika welcome to can grow just about anything here with a bit of can wintersow which works great...if you like tropicals those work too...I've had great luck with brugmansia and just need to bring them in the winter and baby them but they do grow and flower great here...experiment and try what ever you love and it'll grow!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 11:40PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

You don't have to baby those passion vines husky LOL!

Seriously, I have one of husky's passion vines. I did bring it in for the winter and put it in front of the french doors in the kitchen and put it on top of a pebble tray of water and it has literally taken care of itself. Can't wait until we get through this next cool down so I can put it back outside with my other plants for the summer.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 4:51AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

You can definitely start cool-weather plants now. I planted snowpeas last week outside, and they are coming up now. I also have a bunch of things that I started inside back in February that I put outside in the daytime and bring in at night (warm-weather plants, like peppers, petunias, and so forth). It's easy to start things under shoplights, and cheap too.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 8:44AM
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husky004_(z5 NY)

Penny-I have some new passiflora's for you this year!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 12:35AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

OOOHHH how wonderful! Mine is still doing well. I can't wait for it to warm up enough to put it back outside.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 7:32AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

Congratulations on the move to Clarence. I lived there 17 years, and my Mom still lives there. We always started seeds around Mothers Day. i am talking about direct-sowing.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 7:42PM
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