Do you worry about people stealing from your front yard?

I've had quite a response to the question, "Do you worry about people stealing plants or food from your front yard?"

Gretchen writes:

Last year I had a ripe eggplant cut off the plant while I was thinking about how to prepare it myself. I have one neighbour who is generally creepy who always pesters me for free handouts - this is not someone I'm friendly with and he's considered creepy by several people in the neighbourhood.

Someone else asked me if I had tarragon in my garden and said she'd looked it over carefully and didn't think so, but that she'd wanted tarragon a couple days earlier and don't worry, she didn't take anything, not that she would ever take anything ... My conclusion, she would. In a heartbeat.

If someone is genuinely hungry, I'm less upset about this prospect. However, most of my neighbours are not so poor and desperate that they NEED the food in my garden. The ones who concern me just see it as an easy target and have lax morals. I don't want to get too aggressive about protecting my garden though because that would be seen as more antisocial than people occasionally nabbing a freebie.

My best defense for now? Plant strange things that people recognize in a general way as edible, but are unfamiliar with specifically and don't think they know for sure what it is and how to prepare it. Easy things like tomatoes and peppers I planted closer to the house on the inside private sidewalk side of the garden and more in the middle of the garden so that they aren't really reachable from the public sidewalk - hoping that people would be somewhat discouraged from misbehaviour by having to be more clearly trespassing in order to harvest what isn't theirs. We'll see how this works!

Lynn writes:

I was warned that people might steal from a front yard edible garden, but it hasn't happened in the past three years since I transformed our front lawn in a residential city neighbourhood.

Maybe there's a bit of protection in that it would be so easy for intruders to be seen and caught in the act. If someone ate a tomato hanging over the sidewalk, I really wouldn't mind anyway.

What I have found is that people stop to ask questions or offer advice, and I've gotten to know a few folks on the street this way since moving here four years. So if anyone steals some produce before I'm done, I'll consider myself the richer for the sense of better community connection.

What do you think?

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Comments for Do you worry about people stealing from your front yard?

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Jul 24, 2012
No worries
by: David Silvan

With having converted much of my 1/2 acre of land to edibles, I have more than enough of everything for my family, wildlife, and anyone that is brave enough to harvest anything. I've extended open invitations for my neighbors to pick things from my yard, since I have so much that there just isn't enough time in a day for my family to pick everything. I'd rather see things picked and used, than going to waste.

My neighbors and friends have been kind to sometimes respond by giving me a share of the Raspberry jam, Rhubarb cobbler, or other yummy treat they have been able to make from things they gotten from my yard.

Wildlife, especially bees and birds, love my yard too. One of the side benefits of having an edible yard is a real contribution to supporting wildlife.

May 09, 2014
Not a worry
by: elsie

The edibles in our front yard aren't commonly thought of as food by the neighbors- a big row of daylilies, a clump of sea kale,the hops vine and oregon grape. Our blueberries and raspberries and apple tree are surrounded by bird netting due to the real thieves around here- spoiled rotten deer who definitely have no lack for food.

We don't have a sidewalk by the street, and the yard is on a steep slope, overlooked by picture windows - someone would have to be pretty brazen to venture into the yard.

I don't mind sharing, anyway, but would prefer to be asked.

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