August 8, 2011

"Invent some better scenario... where the stolen food somehow ends up in the stomachs of people who need it."

That's advice for urban gardeners who keep losing vegetables to thieves. This resembles my general attitude toward gardening. Whatever's happening, think about it until you discover a perspective from which to view it in a positive light. But then my approach to gardening was always to let anything happen and then theorize it into rightness. That is, I did no work.

For gardeners who actually put effort into it, reframing your attitude seems pretty unsatisfying. My advice to people who nurture tomatoes and various vegetables: Buy that stuff at the store and grow something people don't steal. Or does that make me like that supposedly contemptible policeman who advised women to deal with the problem of rape by wearing modest clothing?

104 comments:

Tank said...

Take a bite of a store bought tomato.

Take a bite of a tomato you picked in your garden.

End of story.

Really, that's why I grow tomatoes, mint and basil in the limited area I have.

Even better is fruit. Have you ever compared a strawberry you just picked to one from the store? You'll never buy one in a store again.

Pogo said...

Some people understand the Tragedy of the Commons, some have to be repeatedly hit over the head with it.

Yet even when they are knocked on their asses by it, some still don't understand.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

The problem of rape.

Modest clothing may help somewhat, but a .38 snubbie or a straight razor is much more effective.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Invent some better scenario... where the stolen food somehow ends up in the stomachs of people who need it.

Maybe I'll try this strategy the next time my tax bill comes due...

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Tank it is not the store-vs-home grown issue, it's a theft from community gardens issue.

That means this is not private property, so no fencing.

A goofball hipster in our neighborhood promoted these stupid community gardens. When I asked him what they would do to prevent theft, he said 'the gardens are for everyone'.

And I said: Please clarify. Do you mean the produce is meant to be taken by anyone who wants it?

Yes, he said.

I added, 'And do you make the gardeners aware that their effort is likely a waste of time? How long do you think people will put up with this?'

No answer.

He also wouldn't understand why no one washes a rented car.

Mark O said...

Those gardeners are asking for it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Take a bite of a tomato you picked in your garden."

Did you grow that tomato in a lot in NYC?

What is the taste of a stolen tomato to a person other than the thief?

clint said...

I suppose the alternative system is to buy an infrared security camera and a shotgun and sit up all night watching the camera feed...

But that probably doesn't end well for anybody.

Curious George said...

"He sees the next threat to the gardens as politics, not pilferage; the GreenThumb initiative operates on $800,000 in federal funds annually"

Maybe it's taxpayers taking back what's theirs.

Big Mike said...

Or does that make me like that supposedly [sic] contemptible policeman ...

Yes

Shanna said...

Tank it is not the store-vs-home grown issue, it's a theft from community gardens issue.

And if you grow something that public, it is going to be stolen. You should make your peace with it, or grow stuff in your own backyard where you can watch over it with a shotgun.

I suppose, if the people who own the "community" garden property (although isn't it often the city?) thought it was important enough they could post security guards and require checkpoints and all that mess, but who is going to do that for tomatoes? At that point, it'd be cheaper to buy them at the store.

Shouting Thomas said...

Manhattan hipsters playing out their "back to the garden" fantasy.

You'd have a hell of a time stealing my tomatoes.

My garden is at the end of a dirt road in the forest in the Catskills.

Solution for Manhattan hipsters: Make enough money to buy that little second home in the Catskills like everybody else.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I suppose the alternative system is to buy an infrared security camera and a shotgun and sit up all night watching the camera feed...

I'd also recommend a good chipper/shredder. With that kind of mulch, you'll have the biggest tomatoes in town.

Scott M said...

Concertina wire and claymore might be a little much, but they would be effective, no?

I was considering a 4x8 raised bed to try out some square foot gardening; part leisure, part salad, part science project for the kids. I hadn't considered two-legged thieves.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Buy that stuff at the store and grow something people don't steal.

That's all well and good, until someone goes all caddyshack on your allium.

ndspinelli said...

In my youth, we would raid gardens @ night. We weren't wasteful or destructive, just stealthy. Nobody had AC back then so windows were open and sound carries well @ night. In our pockets we would have salt and pepper shakers. We would only eat one or two tomatoes from each garden. This wasn't thief altruism, we figured the gardener wouldn't miss the few missing fruit, and then we would move onto the next.

We had scouting reports on gardens. One of my fellow thieves loved cucumbers and by the end of the night was farting so loud he would sometimes blow our cover. I always thought he did this on purpose since there was a rush when you saw the bedroom lights come on and we would bug out into the darkness. We would always be wary when we went to a house w/ the dim light from a tv in the living room. And, as I write this I just had a revelation. This was training for doing surveillance. When you raid a garden or do surveillance it is akin to being a burglar only you don't enter the house, just assess if someone is home, awake, etc. My apologies for going on, but this just struck a nostalgic nerve. I'm too old now to put those shakers in my pocket and set out into the night..hell I'm in bed by 9pm most nights!

Rocco said...

My advice to people who nurture tomatoes and various vegetables: Buy that stuff at the store and grow something people don't steal. Or does that make me like that supposedly contemptible policeman who advised women to deal with the problem of rape by wearing modest clothing?

I am outraged by your callousness, Ann. To protest, I am planning a march called Fruit Walk.

vet66 said...

Recently some Swedish relatives were complaining that the government made them donate their compost to the state so that all could benefit from the efforts of the serious gardeners. Although they grudgingly shoveled their compost into the appropriate container it occurred to them that they were doing the work while some layabout took advantage of their labors.

So let me get this straight, you make the compost, give it to the bureaucrats who give some of it back to you. How about cutting out the middleman bureaucrats and enjoy the fruits of your labor?

Churches as museums and a nanny state are a major reason why my ancestors moved to the U.S. Of course in Sweden people can walk across your property on their way to the forest to scavenge mushrooms and nature's bounty. These thieves wrongly believe that nature's bounty includes your garden as they fortify themselves for the trek into the forest.

wv: hydersys
what you should do with your sister when the grazers come through.

Clyde said...

My initial reaction was "good fences make good neighbors," but since this is some kind of communal urban garden, rather than someone's back yard, that's not a real solution. The people of New York know that anything you leave on the street that isn't locked up will be stolen. Not much difference between a bicycle and an urban garden tomato on that account.

Scott M said...

Problem Solved.

TosaGuy said...

The socialists appear to be upset with the results of their socialism.

rhhardin said...

Augustine was always stealing pears.

Andrea said...

Wait. If this is a "community garden," open for all, then how can anything taken from there by anyone be "stolen"?

If the garden just for a certain radius of the municipality, then it isn't an "open for all" community garden, it's a garden private to that particular neighborhood, and they should fence it in or get a security guard if they don't want outsiders taking their produce. You can't play at being an open-handed giver to all and then balk when someone actually takes you up on the offer.

Bartender Cabbie said...

switch to watermelon. Who would steal them?

The Drill SGT said...

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...
but a .38 snubbie or a straight razor is much more effective.


With the will to use it, rather than ultimately gifting it to the rapist as he rips it from your quivering hand.

Colour Sergeant Bourne: It's a miracle.
Lieutenant John Chard: If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.


The 38 only deters if the rapist thinks there are some guts behind it.

as pappy and my Drill SGT used to say:
- Don't point a gun at someone unless you are prepared to shoot.
- don't shoot someone unles you aim to kill.

Firehand said...

A: Yes, it does.
B: I've known a lot of people who grew a big garden every year because it helped with the food bills; telling them "Oh well, go to the store and buy the stuff" may not be a option, since they're growing stuff they can't afford to buy, or buy often.

And let's not forget something: when they steal from you they're not only stealing the object, whether it's food or a tool or whatever, they're stealing your time. The time it took you to work the garden to grow the stuff, the time it took you to earn the money for the stuff you own.

The people playing 'communal garden' are getting hit on the head with the fact that a bunch of lazy bastards will wait for them to do all the work, then come in and steal the product.

Fred4Pres said...

I grew some pineapples years ago. It takes a long time to grow a pineapple. About two years if conditions are right after you start it (it is faster if you get a shoot off the bromiliad, but I started mine from the cut off top of a pineapple). I amended the soil with organic material. I watered them all the time. These pineapples were amazing. And like a tomato, a pineapple gets better and better the longer it is left on the stalk.

I came home from work and my pineapples were gone the day I was going to harvest them! It was the gardener/landscaper. I knew it was that crew because they stole my neighbor's bananas (and he saw them do it).

I complained and some one of the landscapers showed up at my door with two store bought pineapples. He handed them to my wife and said, "I didn't steal your stinking pineapples!"

Browndog said...

I want to grow a garden.

good for you.

I want to grow a garden so I don't have to buy vegetables at the store.

Don't plant vegetables, other people will want them, and take them

But, the only reason I want to plant a garden is to grow things I want.

What you want is not the issue. The issue is what others don't want.

I don't want to plant a garden anymore.

Good for you

Scott M said...

I didn't steal your stinking pineapples!"

Did he pronounce it "steeel your steeekeeng pinapolas?

themightypuck said...

Culture matters.

Kit said...

Seems to me this kind of comes with the territory. There must be options on how/where to garden and how/who you share it with, in an urban setting. A little creativity, please. Find a way to make the "unsatisfying", satisfying ...but only if you want to - and that's the key, really. Stay unsatified and stay pissed, or find a way to make it work.

Fred4Pres said...

“I know that people who garden in the country have trouble with squirrels and deer and turkeys; here in our neighborhood, we have old ladies,” he said. “They’re the culprit.”

Ha!

Fred4Pres said...

Scott M, it is like you were there!

Kit said...

I'll add - though we didn't plant a veg garden this year, we have in years past and I gotta say, there were years when we over planted and I wished this would have happened.

Scott M said...

One of the girls here in the office joined a co-op where they get a basket of veggies every week for a pretty cheap price (relative to a basket of Farmer's Market goods). The trick is that it's like a box of chocolates.

Fred4Pres said...

I have to battle off the deer. I find the liquid fence works (it is some mix of rotten eggs and garlic from the plant store) but it does stink and you definitely do not want to spray it on what you want to actually eat.

Chickens can sometimes be worse than deer. Plus the deer stuff is like salad dressing to chickens. They seem to enjoy the taste. I had to net the hostas which for some reason chickens will eat down to the roots.

Fred4Pres said...

Scott M, we did the coop thing once, I liked the surpise of the box, but that year there were waaaaay too many beets. It was not cheap (it was expensive). And the farmers included a news letter on their bi annual trips to Italy and France to study agriculture. The combination of price, news letters, and beets endued up participating.

Now I go to the local green grocer. He has local stuff. Prices are way cheaper than the farmer's market.

Scott M said...

Fred

I'm in a fairly suburban setting and I don't keep no steenkeeng chikones, but for the average pests like rabbits, squirrels, and such, on a raised-bed 4x8, shouldn't standard chicken fencing work?

Fred4Pres said...

...ended us participating.

my bad.

gerry said...

I stopped gardening in my yard the day I saw a squirrel carrying away a fully ripe tomato in its mouth. That was after I saw a ground hog eating my tomatoes.

I'd rather see the wildlife than have fresh tomatoes. At least it wasn't people stealing them.

Scott M said...

Now I go to the local green grocer. He has local stuff. Prices are way cheaper than the farmer's market.

Same. We've got one that's very well-stocked about five minutes away. The St Louis Farmer's Market, which, to me, was a series of health violations waiting to happen, is downtown and expensive.

Besides, I can't go into Farmer's Markets regardless of how conveniently located they may be. I have an irrational fear of being mowed down by a senior citizen behind the wheel of a big, heavy car.

Tank said...

Pogo said...
Tank it is not the store-vs-home grown issue, it's a theft from community gardens issue.


Well, of course. I was addressing the part where Ann wants me to go to the store and buy some mediocre at best produce.

Ann, nope, not in a community type garden or in NY. I'm on my back porch in NJ. Tiny garden; great yield. It's the one place we get sun.

Meade said...

Imagine no persimmons
I wonder if you can
No need for pies or puddin's
A neighborhood doves land
Imagine all the sheeple
Shearing all the wool

You may say that I'm a gleaner
But I'm not your honey bun
I hope someday you'll purloin cress
And we'll never again have to eat won ton

caplight said...

Ann said, "But then my approach to gardening was always to let anything happen and then theorize it into rightness. That is, I did no work."

I think we now know why Ann married Meade.

caplight said...

Firehand said, "The people playing 'communal garden' are getting hit on the head with the fact that a bunch of lazy bastards will wait for them to do all the work, then come in and steal the product."

Isn't that called Socialism?

Shanna said...

I'll add - though we didn't plant a veg garden this year, we have in years past and I gotta say, there were years when we over planted and I wished this would have happened.

Yeah, everyone who seriously gardens tends to have extra produce because they aren’t planting one plant in a community garden.

“I know that people who garden in the country have trouble with squirrels and deer and turkeys; here in our neighborhood, we have old ladies,” he said. “They’re the culprit.”

Funny!

Fred4Pres said...

Meade, that is better than the original song!

Fred4Pres said...

I'm in a fairly suburban setting and I don't keep no steenkeeng chikones, but for the average pests like rabbits, squirrels, and such, on a raised-bed 4x8, shouldn't standard chicken fencing work?


Absolutely. That would work against deer, racoons and chickens too. I am just too lazy to do it yet.

The Crack Emcee said...

That's advice for urban gardeners who keep losing vegetables to thieves. This resembles my general attitude toward gardening. Whatever's happening, think about it until you discover a perspective from which to view it in a positive light. But then my approach to gardening was always to let anything happen and then theorize it into rightness.

This sounds like your approach to politics, too.

*ducks*

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If my tomatoes,vegetables and fruit are being stolen by people, (instead of the deer, birds and rodents that I battle with every year)...... I would lace the food with pesticides and other chemicals and hope to hell that whoever stole my work and stole my food gets deathly ill.

Fortunately, there are no vegetable thieves. However, lately we have taken to locking up our gas cans, gas tanks and put the copper inside of the shop and lock it at night. For the first time in 20 years we also are locking our home at night.

Winter is coming.

Scott M said...

Absolutely. That would work against deer, racoons and chickens too. I am just too lazy to do it yet.

If I took a picture of my backyard, you would see it's plainly sans raised garden, despite my purchasing of a book in May to facilitate the building of one. Thus, you've got me beat (unless we're matching procrastination chops...then I win).

TosaGuy said...

I go the unpretentious farmers market near my work (it only sells stuff you can eat). The one where I live is quite pretentious (it sells the "experience" and also a bunch of stuff you can't eat). I bought an entire plastic grocery bag of large garden-grown cucumbers, yellow squash and onions for $4. I can't grow that for that little money.

I read an article in the Mineapolis paper last year about these city truck farms where the owners get young hipsters who desire to get their hands in the dirt to work for them for free. I guess its not slavery if you volunteer to do it.

Browndog said...

I really don't see the issue-

Isn't this exactly what our current government is aiming for?

Barry: "At some point, you have enough tomatoes".

Michelle: ""One of the main causes for inner-city obesity is the lack of available fresh fruits and vegetables"

utopia.....

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Raised beds Lined with double layers of chicken wire to thwart the underground rodents and hoops with plastic to encourage early spring growth. Sort of green house effect. Deer netting draped over the hoops and later a cage of PVC for taller plants. I only planted three beds this year.

Next year we are completely fencing in the area which is to the south side of our orchard. Hopefully something like THIS!! Our garden area is about that big.

Dream big.

I was under the impression that a community garden was for the benefit of those who participated in the work and the growing. Not for anyone who wants to come along and raid the garden without working.

Silly me.

Fred4Pres said...

I am still trying to figure out how they grow pommegrants in New York without a green house. Do they wrap them in the winter?

Triangle Man said...

You'd have a hell of a time stealing my tomatoes.

My garden is at the end of a dirt road in the forest in the Catskills.


and there are booby traps...and plus you'd have to wade through the forest of pot to get at the tomatoes.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Invent some better scenario... where the stolen food somehow ends up in the stomachs of people who need it.

I bet that person also invented a scenario in which he lives in a reality-based community...

Triangle Man said...

I guess its not slavery if you volunteer to do it.

That is exactly correct.

William said...

I suppose a community garden is a barometer of a community's moral health. If it's worth the effort to grow things in a community garden, then that community is worth living in. If not, not.

t-man said...

What is the taste of a stolen tomato to a person other than the thief?

I like that sentence.

We've grown a few sunflowers for a couple of years, and it is amazing to see the squirrels run up the stalks to get the seeds -- almost always a day or two before I was planning to harvest them.

Oligonicella said...

"Or does that make me like that supposedly contemptible policeman who advised women to deal with the problem of rape by wearing modest clothing?"

It's the same logic isn't it? You might give a shot at explaining the difference.

Cedarford said...

as pappy and my Drill SGT used to say:
- Don't point a gun at someone unless you are prepared to shoot.
- don't shoot someone unles you aim to kill.

=================
Old saws. Weapons design went into later thinking that it was better to have some weapons that maimed more than they killed. (ties up more enemy resources, demoralizes enemy more dealing days on end with a screaming, needy wounded than disposing of a corpse). Also it was better to intimidate with some weaponry than have to use it.

Of course, somewhere along the line thinking also emerged that war should be fought by boy scout rules, with enemy having more legal rights than a predatory soldier on your own side, and saving the lives of enemy civilians was more important than protecting your own soldiers lives at the expense of wasting a few enemy civilians on missions.

Still, in AF, while some missions are to completely destroy a target - others are deemed better if you end up not "shooting to kill" but producing more maimed and incapacitated than dead.

The design of the .223 and 9mm round, toe-popper mines, the nature of shrapnel construction in cluster bombs, artillery shells reflects this "new thinking".

As for gardens I wonder how long a sign posted "Warning! One of every 20 tomatoes and 1 of six watermelons is injected with a high dose of samonella. Take at your own rish"...would last. Before authorities arrested the gardener for endangering thiefs or the "innocent family and friends" of the thief that might end up dining on the thieved produce?

margit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Ten or fifteen years ago I had to live in a small city for three years, and being vegetable farmers we turned the ample front yard into a substantial vegetable garden.

All along the sidewalk we planted tomatoes with different maturity dates and stuck a sign on each corner:

If you can reach it from the sidewalk, enjoy it with our compliments.

Never had a problem with any of the rest.

Oligonicella said...

Fred4Pres --

I'm in a fairly suburban setting and I don't keep no steenkeeng chikones, but for the average pests like rabbits, squirrels, and such, on a raised-bed 4x8, shouldn't standard chicken fencing work?

"Absolutely. That would work against deer, racoons and chickens too. I am just too lazy to do it yet."

Not unless you cover the top as well. A deer can do a standing vertical jump and clear a six foot fence, squirrels will simply climb it like a tree, a raccoon will dig under unless there's a 6" or more buried horizontal shelf on the outside and chickens can fly over if not clipped.

And, although I've only seen it once, a rabbit can climb the outside of the fence.

Gina said...

I have a small balcony garden, and it's the squirrels who steal from me. There's not much satisfaction thinking about my hard-won vegetables ending up in their little bellies.

Growing up on a farm, we would often get people stopping by the side of the road to cut corn stalks as decoration. After a while the little nibbles add up. If they'd have asked us, we probably would have allowed them to cut some anyway, but it always amazed me no one realized they were stealing from people's livelihood so they could decorate their suburban lawns for Halloween.

PatCA said...

That's right, Pogo, the tragedy of the commons.

First seen in the US in 1620 Jamestown. I guess the dream never dies.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/6580

Steve Koch said...

There nothing like OPP (other people's produce).

Ignorance is Bliss said...

First seen in the US in 1620 Jamestown.

The people of Plymouth would be surprised to learn this.

The Drill SGT said...

C4,

You are talking about a military setting. In a civilian one, my might want to kill the home invader. that way, when the cops show up, there is only one version of the attack :)

Kirk Parker said...

C4,

"The design of the .223 and 9mm round..."

Got any documentation for that claim?

Class factotum said...

I bought an entire plastic grocery bag of large garden-grown cucumbers, yellow squash and onions for $4. I can't grow that for that little money.

TG, it depends if you are allocating the overhead costs of the manure, the sand, the peat moss and the rabbit fence plus your labor or are just counting the cost of the seeds, which would be about $4. You also need to consider that you only need one or two cucumber plants and one or two squash plants to get enough of each product to eat all you want, so one pack of seeds could last you two or three years.

Meade said...

Sand?

Carol_Herman said...

Gosh, if you go back 4,000 years ... you'd see the TITHE being invented. Because the work of harvesting was not only hard. If you tried to horde it all, your family became easy targets.

"SO sayeth the Lord" ... Leave ten percent on the ground, unharvested.

Either way. The poor could eat it. Or it could go to the birds.

Tithing then became "the path" through which churches collected money from parishioners. Which paid for the overhead.

When I was young. And, people were really poor! You'd see church goers really filling the church's coffers. Why was that, I asked?

And, my mom said that church goers believed they owned the property. that it was their magnificent palaces. And, for a few pennies ... each week ... just by going IN ... they didn't feel poor. But it's opposite.

Meanwhile, lots of gardeners get way more than they can eat! What would you do with the overload of zucchini, except bring some to a neighbor?

Then, when the neighbor baked. And, used some of your produce in her recipe ... You'd get back a slice of moist and delicious cake that you didn't have to bake, yourself.

WIN-WIN

Class factotum said...

Sand?

Meade, I have been advised to mix in sand for drainage. Have I been wasting my money and my time?

Meade said...

Sorry, Class, I'm afraid you have.

Instead, invest your time and money in organic matter - mushroom compost, leafmold, peat moss, etc. For better drainage, build raised beds. Be sure the humus-rich amendments do not contain sewage sludge which predictably contains heavy metals such as lead. I shudder to think of the number of gardeners who are growing "organic" salads and vegetables in urban soils full of toxic elements. Especially if they are feeding those vegetables to young growing children.

Adding sand to clay soils is good for one thing only - making adobe bricks.

TosaGuy said...

"TG, it depends if you are allocating the overhead costs of the manure, the sand, the peat moss and the rabbit fence plus your labor or are just counting the cost of the seeds, which would be about $4. You also need to consider that you only need one or two cucumber plants and one or two squash plants to get enough of each product to eat all you want, so one pack of seeds could last you two or three years."

Don't forget the water.....

If I was feeding a family, raising a big garden is a good way to go. For a single person, unless you enjoy it as a hobby, then the unprentious farmers market is the way to go.

I have done a cost analysis on deer hunting. Since we do our own butchering and I have depreciated fully my 20-year old rifle, venison is cheaper than beef if our group gets 5 or more.

PatCA said...

Excuse me, Ignorance is Bliss, the Jamestown socialist experiment failed 10 years earlier.

Class factotum said...

the unprentious farmers market

Which one is the unpretentious one?

Class factotum said...

Thanks, Meade. No more sand for me. It was a pain in the neck anyhow.

Scott M said...

Which one is the unpretentious one?

The one that sells live rabbits and ducks for you to take home and kill yourself. The pretentious one would never condone harming animals.

ALP said...

I gardened in Seattle's community garden, the P-Patch system, for 4 years in 3 different locations. Each location had a number of beds set aside for volunteers to use for growing produce for the local food bank. As far as I was concerned, that took care of the "community" aspect of the garden - anyone working those beds knew up front that their efforts were on behalf of the "community". Each garden site contributed an impressive amount of produce each season for the food bank.

That is why it was infuriating to hear some of my fellow gardeners defend the regular theft that occurred - "...if someone has been reduced to stealing, they must need the food more than I do" Easy to say when its not YOUR efforts being stolen. It wasn't enough that a number of beds and dozens of volunteer hours were already being spent on behalf of the community. When I pointed out this fact, I usually got a blank stare or the stink eye that seemed to say: "Oh what a heartless, soulless person you are, unwilling to donate your time and money to random strangers."

I'm glad I have a large enough yard now to garden at home, and would never set foot in a community garden again.

Meade said...

You're welcome, Class.

Toxic "organic" home vegetable gardens are something of a hobby horse for me. For example, presumably, the Clintons thought their poo didn't toxically stink.

Apparently, it stunk to high heaven.

wv: "bolevil" Bolmidnight in the garden of bolgood and bolevil

BJM said...

@ndspinelli

Ha! I was raised on a farm and during the summer it was all hands on deck to work the sluice gates when our irrigation water flowed, often late at night.

On the way back home we'd raid a neighboring melon field...nothing better than the heart of a watermelon on a hot August night. Until we got a butt full of rock salt and grounded for the duration of the summer when we had to fess up how we came have welts on the backs of our legs and gluts.

Good times.

Scott M said...

I call bullshit on that. It's a well-known fact that farmers don't have gluts.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crunchy Frog said...

I'm in a fairly suburban setting and I don't keep no steenkeeng chikones, but for the average pests like rabbits, squirrels, and such, on a raised-bed 4x8, shouldn't standard chicken fencing work?

Cougar piss, poured around the perimeter. Critters won't come near it.

Scott M said...

Cougar piss, poured around the perimeter. Critters won't come near it.

Well, I don't have a cougar handy. Can I get that Quiktrip?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Hey Meade.

How about aged sheep manure? We have several farmers who pile it up, let it self heat to kill the seeds and in a couple of years = dark loamy soil-like compost.

Our soil can be somewhat sandy in some areas, since our valley is ancient ice age lake bed. In other areas peaty and fabulous soil. We go and get it by the dump trailer load and use that also in the raised beds.

Scott M said...

Speaking of raised beds, is there any special consideration for drainage or can you simply knock together four 2x10's and fill them up with good soil? Should landscaping material be put down under the bed?

Meade said...

@DBQ: I like composted sheep manure. I like most composted manure. Except chicken. Whether existing soil is primarily sandy or primarily clay, organic matter is the best amendment. Clay soil is generally loaded with plant nutrients that are unlocked and made available to plants when humic acid from the compost reacts with the clay.

@ScottM: I'd skip the lumber and no, no landscaping fabric. With hoe, scrape off vegetation on bed no wider than 4' times as long as you want. Take soil sample for analysis by your cooperative extension service. Follow their recommendations. Apply to bed compost material 3-4" thick. Fork or spade to break into but not turn over existing soil. Add 3-4" inches more compost. Next spring, hoe or pull out weeds. Plant vegetable plants or seeds. Continue removing weeds and top dress bed with compost every winter.

Firehand said...

Caplight: freelance version. Until they start calling themselves 'comrade' and have a license from the government.

Firehand said...

Chicken manure HAS to sit for at least a few months; put it on plants right off and it's so high in nitrates it'll do damage.

Browndog said...

LOL!!

Don't you people live in WISCONSIN??

And you come to Althouse to ask Meade for gourmet fertilizer recipe's??

Seriously??

Althouse was right-

Just go to the store and buy your food-

Clearly your roots have rotted away-

BTW- this is not a slam on Meade...I think.

BTW- fisheads......just sayin'

(is there any fish left in Wisconsin, or are they store bought too?)

Crunchy Frog said...

Well, I don't have a cougar handy. Can I get that Quiktrip?

Here in SoCal, they're not exactly "handy", but they are around, to the chagrin of many a small pet owner. And, there are enough in captivity that you can purchase bottles of urine in the local nurseries.

Any large local carnivore will do, even the two-legged kind. The higher the concentration, the more effective it is.

MikeinAppalachia said...

The best garden, and landscape defense vs deer, racoons, turkeys, rabbits, and the occasional bear is an 80 + lb German Shepherd.

MikeinAppalachia said...

Also works pretty well for two-legged vermin.

Sigivald said...

Good fences make good neighbors.

No fences make an empty garden.

Sigivald said...

(And yes, community gardens are stupid, if they're open to all comers and un-fenced, for exactly the reasons Pogo says.

But there's no reason a community garden can't be fenced off with only the gardener-participants having keys, which would at least help a little.

Indeed, again, the lesson remains - no fences make for no garden. And bad neighbors.

Boundaries matter!)

Blue@9 said...

Invent some better scenario... where the thief's stomach is too ventilated from bullet-holes to enjoy stolen food.

People who need it? Fuck thieves. They're the ultimate tyrants, they take others' property after making a unilateral decision that their need trumps all. I feel sympathy for the poor, but not guilt. Ask me for food and I'll share some, but try to steal it and you'll be eating a shotgun.

Synova said...

At one of my very first apartments, in a strange city far far from home, I had a tiny little garden by the front door with a few little flowers in it and a few peas. I had one really nice Dahlia. It got one big red, velvety flower. Someone walking by broke it off and dropped it.

I was devastated.

Any other thing that is vandalized can be fixed. The flower couldn't be fixed in less than 12 months. When animals wreck your stuff, or bugs get it, that hurts too, but they're really just doing their thing and don't know better. I might have helped if I could have thought that someone who was desperately hungry ate my vegetables, but it was just vandalism.

JAL said...

@ caplight 9:21 AM

Exactly my first thought --->

But then my approach to gardening was always to let anything happen and then theorize it into rightness. That is, I did no work.

Meade.

JAL said...

@Bart Hall in Kansas being vegetable farmers we turned the ample front yard into a substantial vegetable garden

And you didn't get ticketed and *fined* ??!!