I'll admit, my enthusiasm for gardening on the plots my mom and I share at the local community garden (part of the YMCA) was lacking a bit this year. With the lousy weather, it was all I could do to drag myself out there to do a lot of tending. But between the two of us, we got our plots planted and kept them mostly weeded.

The tomatoes there were almost as bad as the ones I grew at home, but in another plot I had dozens (at least 50) of gorgeous onions growing. I was very excited because I was planning to keep them and have home grown onions at least into late November and the crop was looking great. There were several softball-sized Walla wallas in there.

They started as seedlings like these and grew like gangbusters but now all my onions on my community garden plot are gone. The mystery: Who took them?

I was a little irritated a month ago or so when I noticed that a few onions had been, um, "liberated" from the plot. But then again, I expect a bit of that to happen when you're gardening out in the open. But imagine my surprise when my mom called me this weekend to tell me our plots were empty.

Everything was gone.

And it wasn't just our plots, it was all the plots. The tomato supports were neatly stacked up and set aside and all of the plots had been rototilled. My mom checked the compost bin and all of the onion tops were there, but no onions, meaning whoever cleaned out the beds helped themselves to all of our produce before they "cleaned" them out.

The kale I was growing was also taken. Other plots had beautiful beans growing that were drying on the vines for winter use. Another gardener had planted kohlrabi and other vegetables for a late season harvest. And with our cold summer, many crops were ripening very late this year.

There are two plots dedicated to herbs and crops for all of the gardeners there to share. Our master gardener group donated two beautiful rhubarb plants to the communal plots. Those, too, have been pulled out and tilled under.

Other gardeners are equally perplexed and angry but no one has a clue who committed this violation of our plots. I suspect it was a fellow plot-holder. Who else would carefully stack tomato cages and till plots (after stealing all of the contents)? If it was just someone looking for free produce they wouldn't have bothered with that.

I really hope I'm wrong. I hope a fellow gardener didn't do this. I like to think that gardeners are better people than that and no matter which way I frame this, I can't think of a way in which this is at all justifiable in anyone's mind.

I love the idea of community gardens. And while I wish the community gardens here were a little bit more like the allottments I see on British gardening television shows, where people have sheds and make tea and hang out, I still think a community garden is a pretty special place. Well, I used to anyway.


  1. Oh wow!!!! This is crazy, I mean who would do that??? Super weird!
    What a disappointment to find your lovely onions gone. I hope you can find out who did it so the same thing doesn't happen next year! I would be so frustrated too.

  2. Wow, that is the strangest theft story I have ever read. Do you think that they somehow believe by doing it neatly, that theft is any less of ... theft?

  3. wow... i guess we all feel that way... a huge WOW... i hope who ever took the veggies donated it to a shelter or food bank... then again, karma loves this... see i sure wouldn't want to be that person or persons... i'm sorry this happened to you... i'm from michigan and i think our summer was perfect... =D hugs2u

  4. I've heard of people losing parts of their harvest often to bored teens, but this is certainly strange. The stacking and rototilling is the mystery. Who would do that — unless the Y had a clean out date but it seems that would be posted or something so you would know. Really weird. I see a lot of community gardens these days that are fenced and locked. In Boston, they are fenced elegantly and everyone has a key. But that is sad in its own way as well.

  5. Very bizarre and unsettling. So difficult to understand the mental state of some people and sorry you had to experience such a situation.

    We now live in the canopy of the North Carolina mountains and have a community plot in the middle of the neighborhood in a sunny spot that I will plant next year, thank goodness they have been empty for years and I will likely be the only one gardening.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it. I try to respond to comments here or sometimes via email so make sure to check back.