If your chard (or any other leaf beet) is looking a little worse for wear, then it is likely to be one of two things – Cercospora Leaf Spot or Leaf Miner. We explain what to watch out for and how to prevent both.
Cercospora Leaf Spot
This fungus related problem starts out as small brown spots on the leaves which slowly spread. As it worsens, you’ll start to see big brown patches on the leaves, which look as though the leaf is drying up (as pictured). It will start out on individual leaves, but as it worsens it’ll spread to other leaves fairly easily, especially in humid weather. You can try and keep it in check by removing affected leaves as soon as you see them, and keep the plants well watered during dry spells. The alternative is to find a fungicide spray, but we’re not too keen on this!
Leaf Miner is a naughty fly that lays its eggs on beet leaves. When the eggs hatch the larvae/maggots “mine” into the leaves and tunnel in between the top and bottom surface of the leaves leaving a trail. Leaf Miner is unlikely to be a problem right now, as it’s usually in late spring and summer that the larvae hatch. However, it is worth being aware of, and you may still see signs of it now. The last thing you want to see is a maggot crawling out of your chard and onto your plate! If you do see signs of it, it’s a really good idea to destroy the leaves rather than leaving them on the compost pile as the maggots will turn into flies and the cycle will start again. If your veg patch suffers from them it is sensible to grow any chard/beet leaves under fleece in future.