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What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:40 pm
by Deralikt
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Hi there,
Semi rookie gardener here from NZ.
I've got a couple of raised beds, but for the last year or so one particular part of it has had some bizarre disease in the soil. Fungal perhaps? Everything I plant there, no matter what it is, ends up with leaves like this?
Any ideas/suggestions?

Re: What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:44 am
by imafan26
It looks like a brassica leaf, broccoli or some other cabbage relative. I see holes in the leaves. It could be slugs or snails, but more likely to be some kind of caterpillar larvae. Check under the leaves for caterpillars and eggs and especially if you see moths and butterflies hovering. Control is with Bt or row covers.

For slugs or snails look for slime trails and for the creatures in the early morning or in the evening with a flashlight.

Since I only see the lower leaf affected and it does not look like all the leaves have the same problem, it is more likely from pest feeding than from disease. Diseases usually show up on more than one leaf.

Re: What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:15 am
by applestar
I think I see leafminer trails/squiggles.

Re: What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:44 am
by rainbowgardener
Yeah, I expect you have more than one pest, but no disease. I think applestar is right that at least some of the marks are from leaf miners. But some of the marks look like from some sucking insect (not caterpillars, which are usually chewers). That would be things like aphids, leafhoppers, squash bugs, thrips. And the few holes do look characteristic of slugs (though not a very bad attack of them so far).

The slugs you will never see unless you come out late at night with a flashlight and look for them. The leafminers are little larvae that chew their way around inside the leaf between the layers. Aphids, thrips, etc you might see if you check closely including undersides of the leaves.

You can check your critter names in our search box and find lots written here about them and what to do about them.

Re: What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:59 am
by Deralikt
Thanks guys. It's bizarre though, only happens in one 2m square section of my garden, not the other part of the raised bed.

Re: What on earth is going on in my garden?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:48 am
by applestar
Well count your blessings then. :wink:

Here's one possible scenario to explain this: Leafminer's lifecycle includes dropping to the ground after feeding cycle inside the leaves is complete and pupating. So this area may be heavily infested, and if they are opportunistic, they will emerge from the soil as adults, (mate), and lay eggs on the nearest suitable plants.

Another is that there may be beneficial predators in other areas of your garden that curtail their activity. They could be predatorial nematodes in the soil that wouldn't range very far from the immediate area. ...or perhaps you used something in this bed that killed the beneficial nematodes (or other beneficial soil organisms).