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Emma

What is a Swiss Chard??
What damage does the leaf miners leave on this plant?
Please HELP!!

Carl

I am growing Bull's blood beets and I have the same leaf miner pest problem.

Pam Peirce

Use floating row cover. It is a nonwoven fabric. It is white, but lets most of the light and all of the water through. You can probably get it mail order from Harmony Farm Supply (I can't find my current catalog). (www.harmonyfarm.com) Their Harvest Guard should be fine. Warms the air under it somewhat too. YOu can cut it up and use pieces the size you want. For insect protection, I make a bubble and tuck it in the soil at the edges. Leave room for the plants to grow. Or put it on hoops, but remember to close it up good.
Recently, I have been setting my chard out in late August, covering it iwht a row cover until Mid October, when the leafminer pest becomes dormant, eating it all winter and taking it out before the insects emerge again in late March.
I think 'Bull's Blood' beets may be immune to the leafminer. So far so good this spring. The variety is good for baby greens, or for mature roots. Any one else have experience with it?

ChardGrower

I was plaqued by this on my chard crop last year and was advised to cover the plants. Does anyone know how fine the mesh on the cover needs to be to exclude the winged creatures?

Jacoby

I'm pretty sure they're just aphids. We've had lots of problems with leafminers on chard in the past, so that's what I feared at first, but upon further inspection - aphids. Lots of ladybugs crawlin around in there though, so that's good. We've defeated leafminers on our chard pretty effectively with floating row covers that go all the way to the ground, creating something of a seal.

pam

Hi Jacoby,

I don't think the critters on your flat-leaf parsley are the same insect as the one damaging the chard. I think these leafminers are either spinach or beet leafminers, which don't seem interested in plants that aren't in the beet family. They make blotches on the leaves by feeding between the upper and lower epidermis--inside the leaf.
There are a bunch of different leafminer species, and some have a wider range of host plants. One, in particular, that is very common is the serpentine leafminer. It makes a serpentine, or winding, trail in a leaf. It lives on cabbage, nasturtium, sweet pea, pepper, potato, etc. I don't think it is usually as damaging as this chard pest, and I don't see it often. None of the host plants listed are in the parsley family, either.
Parsley does get cabbage loopers (little green caterpillars that move like inchworms) and also a "leaftier" which is a caterpillar that rolls the leaf around itself with strands of silk and feeds in the roll. But the leaftier isn't actually between the leaf layers. I haven't seen a photo of that pest, but you could probably find one.
If the damage is only on a few parsley leaves, you can just pick them off and forget it. If damage gets really bad, though, it's a good idea to identify the pest correctly, since you will have different next steps depending on what it is.

Jacoby

I was horrified to find these guys on my Italian flat-leaf parsley as well!

Kelly

Thanks for this post. I just put in some swiss chard transplants, so I appreciate this advice.

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The new, updated and expanded third edition of Golden Gate Gardening has more of the information you'll depend on about California microclimates, soils, container gardening, vegetable varieties, herbs, edible flowers, cutting flowers, fruits, managing pests and weeds. Now includes 4 planting calendars, 2 for cool summer microclimates, plus 2 for more inland microclimates. More recipes and tips for learning to harvest and eat from a garden too.

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