Silly me. I thought (OK, make that hoped) last year's discovery that leaf miners were devastating my leaf crops would be an isolated incident, never to be repeated in my fair garden. I got rid of all infested leaves and rotated crops for this season. Not only was the spinach I planted at winter's end in a different area of the garden, it was in a container with packaged soil. Immune, right?
Nope, as my dinner salad harvest showed me. Here again are the eggs, stacked like rice grains on the underside of leaves. If left to hatch the eggs will become burrowing worms that fatally channel between the layers of leaf tissue. (Fatal, that is, to the leaves.) All this on a merry chase to become adult flies and lay another generation of eggs.
What's a gardener to do? One method is using floating row covers atop the plants so the fly can't land, but the evidence of eggs shows I'm already too late into the insect's life cycle for that.
The Internet abounds with ideas for using different chemicals on the soil around leaf crops, but I really don't want to go down that road, especially since mine is just a small patch.
My approach, then, will be daily checking of leaves, constantly harvesting those with eggs. This may be one case where my Baby Bear-sized garden is just right -- because it takes hardly any time at all to inspect the leaves of each and every plant. The eggs are easily removed from the leaves by scraping or cutting away. So far I've seen no evidence of hatches.
Have any of you successfully dealt with leaf miners? While somewhat entertaining, this thread on an Internet forum shattered my belief that gardeners are a kind, friendly, resourceful bunch. Please restore it for me!