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Thursday, June 3, 2010

They're BA-AAACK!

By Jennifer

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!


karisma said...

Interesting forum argument there. Now I am no expert but the first year I went gung ho and planted a huge vegie garden I went with my instinct and planted tansy amongst it. I had no pests that first year what so ever. In fact my silver beet lasted for nearly two years at which point my father in law disgusted with my "weed" as he called it, pulled it all out. We had loads of invasive bugs as a result. I now have my tansy back all over the garden and its coming back to life. Worth a try anyway. A friend of mine swears by comfrey too. I have not tried that one yet though. Good luck.


Have you tried spraying pyrethrum?

Sprinkle some radish seeds around your leaf veggies. They repel insects, are easy to grow, taste great with the leaf crops, and germinate in no time. I grow radishes with my tomatoes to stimulate root growth and repel insects. Hope any of these suggestions work for you.

Now I need to read that link.

Sigalit Chana said...

Interesting. I also grow radishes with my tomatoes ;D I have not had any problem with the leaf miners, yet. Have you researched what are the good bugs that may aid you in your attempt to rid the miners? It takes a little patience and time, but once you have an established eco-system, it takes little help from us, and it is totally pesticide free.

Lumelior Store said...

i can think of garlic, onion plant or any part of them can be use to get rid of these b****rds, i'm too infested with these pest, but i picked the infested leaf and KILL the fricken larvae (you hear me insect activists..), but now will be putting onion or garlic parts around my spinach and lettuce patches

cheers from germany,