My onion harvest was grossly truncated by theft this year – aside from an earlier picking of smaller bulbs, the remainder of my onions (somewhere between 20 and 30 of them) were stolen from one of my community garden beds just over a week ago. The garden coordinator said that theft had been a huge issue this year (perhaps understandably, given our current global health crisis and high unemployment rates) and she was taking measures to try to mitigate the problem. Installing a trail cam to try to catch night-time prowlers was one first step, and she was considering new signage. I have had some minor theft from my beds in previous years (a few carrots there, an onion or garlic bulb or two), but this was the first time that an entire crop had been taken. I am always happy to help out anyone in need, so hopefully the thieves enjoyed some good meals from the plants. It made me chuckle a little when I noticed that they left my beets and kohlrabi alone – it appears the culprits had a refined palate and only wanted onions!
Our community garden actually has several beds in the garden that have been set aside and planted by students from one of the schools in the area for anyone in the community (not garden members) to harvest whenever they want to, but our garden coordinator noted that these aren’t the beds that are mysteriously losing produce in the middle of the night.
If you’re on Facebook, the Calgary Horticultural Society held a Facebook Live session earlier in the year to discuss theft and vandalism in community gardens – you can view the archived video here. (It’s public, so you don’t have to be a member of the page to watch it). This sort of thing is fairly common in community gardens and you just have to be aware of it and try not to get too upset when you’re at the receiving end. Gardeners do love to share, after all…I just kind of wish that the thieves would have left me a couple of onions. 🙂