Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

The Dollar Stretcher Community has a new home!

Feel free to read the great frugal living tips, ideas and discussions readers and community members have posted here. But if you'd like to post something or start a discussion, please click here to go over to our new community site and create an account.

Please contact Brandy@stretcher.com for questions about these forums.



Worried About Garden Produce Theft

Last post Fri, Jun 15 2012 9:56 PM by Juneflower. 43 replies.
Page 1 of 5 (44 items) 1 2 3 4 5 Next >
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • Wed, May 30 2012 11:54 AM

    Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    I wasn't sure whether to put this in "Frugal Food" or "General." Our garden is in our backyard. Since the house is on a corner, this means one side of the yard is open to the road. There's a split-rail fence on that side, but that's it. Since it's a rental, there's nothing we can really do about this, though I've planted morning glories (which aren't doing well in that spot, unfortunately) to try to provide a bit of screen. You can see the garden, especially the tomatoes, very easily, and they're fairly close to the fence (we don't have a lot of choice on this, it's just the space we have for a garden). Directly across from us on this side is a Baptist church which also houses one of the local food pantries.

    Today was one of the open-pantry days, and I just happened to be out gardening. It's been so hot out that I hadn't been able to get out to week, spray for aphids, or plant my next rotation of crops; so, I was out later than usual (I am usually in the garden by 7AM, and out by 7:30-8; but, today it was almost 10 before I was done). I know several of the people who frequent the pantry by sight, and they know me, so we often wave or exchange a few words. I've given a few of the ones I know well cherry tomatoes here and there, or some greens, etc.. (especially the children, who LOVE a handful of grape or cherry tomatoes!).

    Two women I didn't know walked by and commented on how big the tomato plants were, and I responded with how lucky we've been to have so much rain and heat, which tomatoes love. They then said they'd know where to come for tomatoes, and I just smiled and laughed because I get that joke a lot. But, it turns out they weren't joking. They made it clear that they'd like me to give them tomatoes, once they were ripe, on their pantry days, because we can't possibly use that many tomatoes and so they should get some. I mentioned (still being very polite) that we rarely have extras, as we preserve for year-round, but that when we do have extra's I've put them in a box by the fence saying "Take some, Free." They then actually argued with me about my garden and how I should share it with them.

    Here I am, covered in dirt and mud (it's very wet here, which is great for weeding), and they're telling me how it's not right that I have such abundance. I was furious--I work my behind off for that garden so we can afford groceries, we scrimp and save money for garden supplies, I save seeds for the next year, we work in the heat and the rain, we beg and borrow a rototiller, we trade seeds with friends to save money, etc.---but I was polite and said that it is a lot of work and we only plant what we can use. They eventually walked on.

    Fast forward about 10 minutes, when I am back in the house washing my hands, and they walk by my open window on the way back to their cars. They're talking to one another, as they walk by the garden, about how they'll just take tomatoes (it was a very rude conversation, which I won't post here). So, now I am worried about losing my crops. We can't afford that. We live on a shoe-string as it is. This garden is not only my stress-relief and recreation, it is a counted-on part of our food bill right now. When we have extras, we share it with our neighbors (we have a next door neighbor who has no room for a garden, and they have three children, so we give them extra greens, share our herbs, and they'll get extra tomatoes, etc.) and friends who are tight on money and have no garden space (apartment dwellers with no balconies). But, even that is limited. I worked very hard on our garden plan to get our small garden to yield usable amounts of crops for us, right down to rotational planting and research on heirloom varieties that are super producers.

    I'm going to talk to my landlords, who live diagonally from me, and ask them to keep an eye out. And, I'll try to be out on pantry days. But, we know two people who've had their entire crops of tomatoes stolen at night (we interplant different varieties that will ripen at different times, so this may be helpful in making sure they don't get all of our tomatoes). I'm also going to try planting more morning glories as a screen. Any other ideas that don't involve altering the property would be really appreciated.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Wed, May 30 2012 12:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    I had someone stealing all the oranges on my tree the first three years I lived here. The fourth year, I was home and I see a tall man and a woman picking the oranges off my tree. They even brought an orange picker. I yelled and told them to leave. I also told them that if they ever came back, I would call the police. The orange tree was right next to my house and I have a big backyard. So these people were very brazen. Fortunately, they never came back.

    I think that you would be better off not going out when the pantry is open, but keep an eye on your garden during that time. If you see anyone taking something from your garden, let them know that they are trespassing. When you are out there working, you give them an opening to ask you for food.

    You work hard in your garden and you have the right to do whatever you want with it. Don't let anyone intimidate you.

    You may try a "no trespassing" sign by your garden.

    I think creating a barrier is a good strategy too. I have an open backyard and I was thinking of growing a vine vegetable like sweet peas and beans with a trellils as a barrier. The trellis can go with you when you move.

    I'm sorry, I really don't have many good ideas on the subject. Maybe others can be more helpful. I wish you a bounty of vegetables this year!

  • Wed, May 30 2012 1:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

     LivingFrugal,

     

    Wow, that is brazen!  I am not easily intimidated and will definitely tell them to get off my property, but I know I can't always been here, so the suggestions are much appreciated.

    I like the "No Tresspassing" sign idea, and I think my landlords would be fine with it, too (I'll ask them when I see them next).  I'll also try the suggestion about not being out there on pantry days, as well, when possible. I can go out earlier in the morning, or maybe try to squeeze in some time in the evening.

    This is really the first time anyone's asked for food, and I admit it took me aback that they were so insistent about it.  For the folks that I've come to know a bit, I'll discreetly offer if I have extra grape tomatoes (we rarely have any extra regulr tomatos, but last year our grape tomatoes went a bit wild and so we had a ton) or if my salad greens have gotten away from me :-) There are a few elderly ladies and gents who really appreciated the fresh veggies, but I'm pretty careful to make sure it's offered discreetly during a conversation (I have roses on that same fenceline, and usually we're talking about roses and bugs)! I don't want to have to stop offering the ocassional extra to someeone who could use and appreciate it, but I may have to, it seems. :-(

     

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Wed, May 30 2012 1:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    Falconinburgundy,

    You'll find the right solution. Good luck to you! 

  • Wed, May 30 2012 1:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

     Wow!  how rude.  I'm so sorry that happened.  It must have been very unsettling.  You might give a heads up to the pantry staff that a few of their clientele are being impolite to the neighbors.  It's not the pantry staff's job to police their clients, but they might appreciate knowing that something is up.

  • Wed, May 30 2012 2:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    I agree with all the previous comments.  A string trellis would be easy enough to make, as well as cheap, and sweet peas are quick and easy to grow, as are pole beans.
  • Wed, May 30 2012 2:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

     Thanks so much for the suggestions! We dont really need a trellis, per say, as I've already got the strigns runing from the top to bottom of the split-rail; but, since the morning glories aren't doing well, I may go ahead and give the peas a try! Maybe they'll have better luck :-)

    And, I'll definitely talk to the church staff, if for no other reason than maybe they can help keep an eye out on pantry days.

    It was unsettling mostly in the huge amount of entitlement these ladies conveyed. While  their very rude appraisal of me wasn't unsettling, per se, it certainly was enlightening as to the character of those speaking (suffice it to say that if I'd been inclined to share with them, I certainly wouldn't do so after hearing what they said). 

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Wed, May 30 2012 2:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    Shawn, it broke my heart to read this. Why? because you are such a good person and this story was just unbelievable to read. I'm sad this happened to you as you do not deserve to be disrespected this way or your land either.

    Jealousy and envy are a horrible thing and cause people to act obnoxious and malicious in return. You did nothing. I am sure they looked at what you had with envy because they are not as fortunate. Everyone's got a story but that's no excuse to treat you how they did or your land and property. Their convo and comments may be out of spite without further action. Who knows though, you have every right to be concerned about further invasion and theft. You are wise to talk to your landlord.

    I can't offer much help other than huge sympathy and empathy over what just happened to you. I really enjoy your company and think you are a wonderful woman so naturally this hurts me to read about. I know this may sound tacky but it's just an idea - have you considered putting up a no trespassing sign and a security camera? Sometimes this will instantly keep people away if in clear site. The hoot here is sometimes you don't even need a workable camera and can use a bogus one as a SCARE/trick. Not everyone can afford a security system so a scare can be a good solution. Those stickers that come with security systems scare as well .. "protected by adt" and what not. I am not sure of the set up over there but motion senser lights can be a good idea for night thefts. I am sure they made it sound like if they were to come in the yard it would be during the day after their pantry pick up... but you never know. Just some thoughts and my full support your way dear.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Wed, May 30 2012 2:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

    Falconinburgundy:

    And, I'll definitely talk to the church staff, if for no other reason than maybe they can help keep an eye out on pantry days.

    It was unsettling mostly in the huge amount of entitlement these ladies conveyed. While  their very rude appraisal of me wasn't unsettling, per se, it certainly was enlightening as to the character of those speaking (suffice it to say that if I'd been inclined to share with them, I certainly wouldn't do so after hearing what they said). 

     

    I do think you should speak to the church staff, but for another reason.  Those ladies pass your home on their way to the food pantry.  If you can give a good description, they may not be passing by your home any longer.  Food pantries, especially those run privately, reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason.  That is to cover a multitude of situations, such as re-selling, trading for drugs, etc, but I think most church pantries would have a problem with someone threatening to steal from the neighbor's garden.  Beside it just being wrong, most churches would class it as "sinful", and planning to do so repetitively as unrepentant. Who knows,perhaps someone in the church has some extra fencing lying around that you could use...

    I belong to a freecycle group, which is totally not religiously affiliated.  One woman had a bread drop at her home, where she received out-of-daate bread stuffs, & generously shared with the rest of the freecycle group.  One woman totally took all the bread from one drop, where there was a limit of 2 bags per person, & actually pushed the owner off her own porch to get to the bread.  The next week, the bread was all inside, one had to knock on the door to get it, & the person who did the shoving was not only no longer welcome to participate, she was kicked out of the freecycle group.  

    It is so sad when adults have to be taught how to behave & "play nicely together".

    FYI, putting up a No Trespassing sign will give you the right to press charges if they steal from your garden.

     

  • Wed, May 30 2012 2:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Worried About Garden Produce Theft

     Thanks, BB, for your kind words and support. I LOVE the idea of the fake camera, and we have the perfect place for it! I'm definitely considering the "No Trespassing" sign, as well. I think our landlords will be okay with both ideas. Hopefully between those an the barrier of sweet peas/pole beans (thanks for the ideas to replace the morning glories, guys and gals!), it will be enough of a deterrent. 

    There was a motion-sensor light on the back yard, but it was replaced with a regular porch light. I might see if the landlords would be willing to put a motion-sensor one back up, too.

    You guys are so helpful, thank you so much!

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
Page 1 of 5 (44 items) 1 2 3 4 5 Next >

The Dollar Stretcher has a new community!

Feel free to read the great frugal living tips, ideas and discussions readers and community members have posted here. But if you'd like to post something or start a discussion, please click here to go over to our new community site and create an account.

About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us



Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems