As the desire to grow your own increases and allotments, or community gardens as they are known Stateside, blossom, so does the temptation to pilfer the ripened bounty, as recently reported in The New York Times.
What can possibly be more disheartening, after you’ve spent back-breaking hours weeding, preparing, and carefully tending your plot to arrive one day to find it’s been ravaged. In the UK, it seems the most likely culprits are local kids with nothing better to do, however, New York has detected a slightly more sinister theme where it would appear to be other allotment keepers who are coveting their neighbours’ more successful crops.
In the 700+ community plots across NYC many complain of this petty theft. It wouldn’t be so bad if the foods were taken by those who were hungry, or poor and really needed it, instead of the slightly less green-fingered opportunists who happen to gander upon a ripened fruit which they simply cannot resist.
Tips for how to avoid this are published in Guerrilla Gardening : A Manualfesto by David Tracey, exerts of which can be viewed at Ecolife, and recommends planting less attractive crops such as yellow, rather than red tomatoes, and also to hide the tastiest morsels, such as raspberries behind parsnips, for example. Although, there is always the option, if you have the room and the time to simply grow more than you need, as there is nothing quite so delicious as homegrown fruit and vegetables. So please don’t let this put you off – I recently turned down an allotment due to lack of time and seriously regret it as I spend another summer munching my way through tasteless and possibly GM tomatoes, rather than getting healthy by toiling the earth and reaping the rewards with fresh salad, even if I do have to share it around. I suppose it’s little comfort, as I sit here in my armchair, but ultimately it is a mark of your success if people think it looks good enough to eat, or take, or both!