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Gardening and More: Plant fruits and vegetables now, choose lawn fertilizer carefully

You can buy fruit bushes now, such as this gooseberry bush, that already has berries on it. Plant the bush in your yard and enjoy the berries now and for years to come.
Fruit bushes that are already full of berries can be purchased and planted now, says Fred Safford, who is in charge of trees and shrubs at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, which is located at 4484 Clark Street, Hamburg.

“You can enjoy berries this season and get a jump on next season,” Safford said. “Now is a fine time to plant. You just have to pay attention to watering, but we seem to be having a wetter summer than we’ve had in awhile.”

Lockwood’s has raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, sea berry and gooseberry bushes as well as grape vines. Fruit trees include cherry, apple and chestnut. Lockwood’s also carries hops for home brewers. They may sell out of a particular variety of plant, so you should go soon to get the best selection.

Planting fruit trees or bushes can help you turn your garden into an edible landscape. The concept of edible landscapes emphasizes plants that aren’t merely decorative, but give us something to eat, too. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty; these plants can be an attractive part of your landscape.

Plant vegetables

from seed

Now is also the time to plant a fall crop of vegetables from seed.

Vegetable seeds that you can plant now include broccoli, lima beans, coriander, dill, collards and beets, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, located at 118 South Forest Road, Williamsville.

In early August, plant Chinese cabbage, turnips, peas and radishes.

Don’t use lawn fertilizers with phosphorus

If you want to use fertilizer on your lawn, don’t use a fertilizer that contains phosphorus, that’s a reminder from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The 2012 Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law prohibits the use of phosphorus fertilizers unless a new lawn is being established or a soil test shows that the lawn does not have enough phosphorus.

“Too much phosphorus is harmful to the state’s water resources,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Rain and snow runoff carries phosphorus to ponds, rivers, lakes and streams. Once in the water, phosphorus can cause algae that turn waterbodies green, degrading drinking water and using up vital oxygen that fish need to breathe. We are asking New Yorkers to continue to exercise good environmental stewardship.”

When buying fertilizer, look at the bag label for phosphorus content, all fertilizer labels have three bold numbers. The number in the middle is the percentage of phosphorus in the product, such as: 22-0-15. The law requires retailers to display phosphorus fertilizer separately from phosphorus-free fertilizer and to post signs notifying customers of the terms of the law.

The 2012 Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law doesn’t affect agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

The nutrient runoff law also prohibits applying any fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium on lawns or non-agricultural turf between Dec. 1 and April 1. Applying any fertilizer on lawns or non-agricultural turf within 20 feet of a waterbody is restricted and application on paved surfaces is prohibited.

For more information on the law, visit the DEC website at

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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