Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to discourage garden thieves

Thankfully most gardeners look out for each other.  They all work hard on their gardens, and if you're tending yours on a regular basis, they will appreciate your effort.  You should be at your garden regularly, be friendly with the other gardeners and helpful in keeping the entire area clean and safe for everyone.  You don't need to be there every day, but it helps to be there as much as possible.  Keep the thieves guessing as to when you'll show up. 

If, like me, you will be growing some veggies along with your herbs, you will experience theft.  Don't let it get you down, it happens.  Someone sees that juicy tomato, and *poof,* it's gone.  Aside from putting up a scarecrow that is dressed like a cop, (not a bad idea, actually, a "scarecop"), or mounting hidden cameras, there is not much you can do when some bastard decides to take what is yours.

Sometimes its not even people, as animals will be raiding your garden on a regular basis.  Count on it.  The only thing you can do (if fences are not allowed) is to plant enough for you and the rabbits et al.  (I have even seen dogs helping themselves to broccoli and other tastey greens.)

Some gardens allow you to put up certain types of fencing, they will all have their own guidelines to keep the place looking nice. But if you're not lucky enough to find such a garden, you can avoid being ripped off too much by placing the valued items in the center and surrounding it with taller plants.  Just making it difficult to reach usually discourages petty thefts. 

When you're growing something that people tend to steal, like pumpkins and watermelon, another method, aside from surrounding it, is to make sure it is not readily visable to the casual eye.  This can be easily done by making sure those items are well covered by their own leaves. You'll notice the plant often does this itself, just pay attention to nature and pick up it's tricks.  Squash and melons have really big leaves, use them to your advantage.  Another method to avoid theft is to grow something the average person does not recognize, like Jerusalem artichoke or asparagus pea, or salsify.  If they don't know what it is, they won't take it.


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