How to grow leeks – and outwit the allium leaf miner fly | Alys Fowler

Our gardening expert on how to beat this pesky pest

It is stubbornness on my part, but I refuse to give up leeks. The allium leaf miner is a pesky thing that has taken up residence around here and likes to shred anything in the allium family, though it seems especially partial to garlic, leeks and bulbing onions.

I’ve given up on onions, but I can’t bring myself to give up leeks and garlic. I cover everything I grow with fine mesh netting from March onwards. The leaf miner lays its eggs in two periods, March-April, then that lot hatch and lay eggs in October and November, making overwintering leeks very vulnerable. It’s tiny, only 3mm long, and thus often finds cracks and holes to make its way to its progeny’s favourite dinner. Garlic can soldier on, but I find the leeks are often in tatters and then rot over the winter.

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