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Insectary plants?

 
                                        
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I have some young spinach plants that are being eaten by something unknown, and a basil plant that has some leaf miners. I've planted all of these in the same spiral bed as dill, spearmint, cilantro and parsley, which all have purported insectary benefits. I'm new to using insectary plants, so forgive my ignorance, but... none of them seem to be working! Are the beneficial insects only attracted when the insectary plants are blooming? Or perhaps there are other pieces of the puzzle that I'm missing? Any help would be appreciated.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Any idea what's doing the munching? Unless it's doung lots of damage, it might not be an issue...
I grow all sorts of things together, but I doubt any plant in any garden would put off a slug
Sometimes it's more how/where/when the plants are grown. The rest of the time it's generally something about the soil or water.
Most of the plants you list do well in partial shade and cooler weather,  but basil wants heat and sun, and lots of it.
Where are you in the world?
Bit of a side-note, but I'd be very careful about mints in garden beds, as they tend to take over. Completely.
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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I'd add some yarrow and lantana. Get some wasps in your area. I see a variety of wasps and robber flies routinely eating cabbage worms (or at least stinging and injecting eggs).


Sounds like you may have flea beetles... They get my cabbage crops too. You may resort to a garlic or onion spray. A little ash around the base I've noticed can keep several posts deterred.

 
                                        
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I'm in Houston, TX. I placed the basil on the south side of the herb spiral, where it almost always gets sun. My insectary plants are on the north half, though to some degrees either east or west. So it's a possibility that the basil is too far away from the insectary plants. I'm quite certain it's leaf miners that are bothering my basil, I see a few leaves with the characteristic white lines that I pinch off. The damage is not too bad on my basil. But I have no idea what's eating my spinach, and I would say the damage for them IS extensive. This is despite the fact that the spinach IS next to a few of the insectary plants. I've never seen the culprit, but the young leaves barely have a chance to grow an inch out of the ground before they start getting eaten, and the holes in the larger leaves are very big. I'm not going to have any spinach to eat at this rate.

Thanks LW for the suggestions. I'm planning on adding a crescent hedge around my spiral and I'll add yarrow and lantana on my list of possible plants to include.
 
                                        
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I took a much closer look at my spinach leaves this morning. All the badly eaten leaves had what looked like black crumbs on their undersides. Eggs or droppings of some kind?
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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thenakedorchid wrote:
I took a much closer look at my spinach leaves this morning. All the badly eaten leaves had what looked like black crumbs on their undersides. Eggs or droppings of some kind?
I believe that's remnant..and it sounds to be like cabbage worm (although they haven't touched by spinach here in the Southeast)... I've noticed a lot of butterflies as of late, and there are a'many of caterpillars around as well. Keep an eye out and flip to the underside of the leaves as often as you can.
 
                                        
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I believe you're right, LW. I found one of those green caterpillars on my dill a couple days ago. Strangely enough I've never seen them on my spinach (probably bc they're on the undersides!)
 
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