Did anyone else’s garden double in size after that big rainstorm? If you have planted spinach, beets or swiss chard in your plot, you might be noticing something that looks like this:
That dead patch of leaf tissue is caused by leafminers! The leafminers that attack garden crops are small flies that crawl out of the soil in the spring and lay eggs on the leaves. When the eggs hatch, the larvae earn their name by tunneling in between the layers of plant tissue and eating it up as they go, leaving the trails and dead patches seen above. Essentially, they eat up your greens before you get the chance to and leave a sad husk behind.
In our organic garden, you can help control leafminers by tilling up the soil at the end of the gardening season to help destroy any adults preparing to overwinter. You can also remove infested leaves from your plants when they are still small, and pinch the dead patches between your fingers to see if anything goes “squish”! Brutal but effective…
Leafminer information found here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/leafminers-in-home-vegetable-gardens/
Remember, no chemicals allowed!