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The Hopeful Gardener Has Leaf Miners

May 14, 2010

Signs of leaf miners in my container garden

Last week I noticed some white squiggly lines on some of my tomato leaves.

Thankfully, the University of Florida/IFAS website has great information and after looking there and consulting with several gardeners, I realized that I have leaf miners.

The good news is that I can control them a little by plucking the damaged leaves and I won’t need to use a pesticide.  These little buggers may reduce the number of tomatoes I get but with just one plant it shouldn’t be too much of a difference.

In spite of this cosmetic blemish on my otherwise beautiful container garden (not that I’m biased, right?), my plants are flourishing.  Take a look at my two week old garden.

Grow, Garden, Grow!

If you’ve had trouble with leaf miners, I would love to hear how you’ve dealt with them, especially if you’ve planted a companion plant that will draw them away from tomatoes and basil.  I’ll be back next week with another update – you should see all the yellow flowers on the tomato plant now!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. adiel permalink
    May 18, 2010 9:01 am

    For leaf miners you can use do the following:

    It’s easy to make your own oil based spray at home and it’s totally safe. All you need is a little vegetable oil and liquid soap.
    Oil based sprays are very useful in controlling a wide range of insect pests in the garden. Pests like scale, aphids, smooth skinned caterpillars, mites and even young grasshoppers suffocate when their bodies are covered with oil.

    You can even use oil sprays to deter the citrus leaf miner.

    Here’s how it’s done:
    1. In a blender, combine 2 cups of vegetable oil with ½ cup of dishwashing liquid. Blend it up until it’s well mixed. This is your concentrate and can be stored in a jar. Be sure to label it and include the dilution rate on the label.
    2. To prepare the concentrate for use, dilute 1 tablespoon in a quart of water, mix it well and spray the pest as well as both sides of the foliage thoroughly.
    3. Always follow this dilution rate, because you can burn the foliage if it’s too strong and there are a few other rules; don’t apply it in hot weather and avoid using it on plants with hairy foliage as well as ferns, palms and cycads as this can also cause leaf burn.
    4. Regular applications of this easy to make oil based spray will help protect your plants from many common pests found in the garden.


    • Melissa permalink
      May 18, 2010 10:49 am

      Adiel, thank you so much. Now that you mention dish detergent, I remember that I once washed a hibiscus – leaf by leaf – with a detergent water solution. I had never heard about adding oil, so I appreciate the tip!

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