"Lacey" arugula might look pretty, but it's not so nice on your plate.
But what causes it? Flea beetles, that's who!
Flea beetles are tiny 1.5-3mm shiny black beetles that almost exclusively attack cruciferous vegetables and can eat through everything in no time.
Flea beetles can cause significant stress to plants that are well developed, the damage they cause can send plants into "survival mode", limiting growth. Flea beetles may also attack newly sprouted seedlings that have not yet developed their true leaves.
They love dry and hot weather. They begin to multiply and suddenly take over the garden when temperatures reach around 20°C night and day... Exactly at the same time when you thought you'd breathe a little after the spring sprint.
Seeing your plants riddled with small holes is exasperating, but how can you get rid of them?
How can I get rid of flea beetles naturally?
Flea beetles develop when the surface of the soil is dry and crusty in places, so hoeing, mulching the soil and watering are your best lines of defense.
You can spray the plants with water in the morning to disturb the insects. I like to use homemade rhubarb or tomato leaf liquid manure mixed with a little natural soap! I also like to sprinkle fine ash on the foliage of the attacked plants in order to spoil their meal!
Once you've got rid of them, protect your crops with hoops and netting pushed into the ground to limit their ways in!
Finally, plant marigolds and other aromatic plants around the garden to help deter pests.