The Garden Party

A Swiss Chard Tent to control Leafminer

If your Swiss chard leaves appear like a kid was doodling squiggly lines, you have leafminers. Leafminers are larval (maggot) stage of insects that live in and eat the leaf tissue of plants. They appear in spring, like young robins and daffodils, but are nowhere near as welcome. The wiggly white lines that leafminers leave eventually cause dead patches on the leaf.   Leafminers are devasting to not just Swiss chard, but beet greens and spinach too! 

Leafminers are the larvae of the leafminer fly that lays its eggs on the leaf. When the eggs hatch, the maggots go inside the leaves, leaving ugly black-dotted blotches in their wake. Eventually the leaves turn brown.  By the time you see leaf damage, this downward cycle is well underway, and quite difficult to interrupt. 

The leafminer fly lays eggs under the chard leaves. Small white oblong eggs, up to 5 in a neat row. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars eat their way through the leaves for several weeks before falling to the ground where they pupate. The flies emerge after several more weeks and lay a second round of eggs.  The second round pupate in the ground over winter and emerge as flies in the spring.

So what to do?

These pictures show how The Garden Party was successful in blocking leaf miner flies from attacking our Swiss chard crop with a Swiss chard tent.

Made from all-purpose garden fabric, also known as floating row cover, the Swiss chard tent defends a crop from the dreaded leaf miner fly and its larvae. Garden fabric transmits up to 85 percent of available sunlight and will not block rain or overheat irrigation.  The tent design has two panels that fold open from the center top allowing for Swiss chard to be easily harvested.

When selecting your Swiss chard site avoid planting in areas previously experiencing leafminer problems. Remember,  leafminer eggs can over-winter in the ground and emerge as the dreaded leafminer fly in the Spring. 

Floating row cover fabric is a fantastic addition to any garden shed.  This wonderful material is the transmitting light weight material for a tent which will save your Swiss chard, beet greens and spinach from the dreaded leafminer.

  




Tenting Swiss chard

Protecting Swiss chard

Growing Healthy Swiss chard

Green Swiss chard from a Tent

The dreaded Leafminer

Leafminer larvae

The Garden Party at Redeemer Lutheran - 1691 Bloor St West Toronto ON, M6P 1B1 - High Park Community Garden
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