How to Protect a Community Garden From Thieves

Growing Your Greens/Video screen capture

Sharing gardens are all well and good, and some people have even planted up parking strips to produce free food for passers by.

But in most cases, if you spend time, effort and money on growing food, the chances are you would quite like to eat some of it yourself. But sadly, anyone who has ever run a community garden will know that stealing is often a significant issue.

So how do we prevent it?

John of Growing Your Greens has a few creative ideas for garden security that may help reduce pilfering. Here are a few options:

Plant spiky or stinging plants. As Bonnie has already noted, strategic plantings can be a powerful security tool. Nettles, rose bushes and other crops can be used to provide physical security against intruders.

Don't grow high-profile, popular crops. Tomatoes and peppers are expensive, and everyone knows what they are. If you have a community garden and a home garden, consider growing these popular, high-profile crops closer to home where you can keep an eye on them.

Grow crops people don't recognize. From nettles to goji berries, there are plenty of crops that people aren't used to seeing in the stores. Why not take advantage of that? They probably won't even realize it is food.

Grow root crops. Potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, parsnips. The options are endless. not only will the main "prize" be hiding out of sight, reducing temptation—but these crops are also harder work to harvest, so will be less likely to get lifted on a whim.

Grow trickster plants. There are some delicious varieties of green tomatoes. Consider growing some of these—thieves may not even realize they are ready to eat.

For more garden security ideas, check out John's video below.

Tags: California | Communities | Community Gardens | Permaculture | United States