Vegetable Thief Master Class

, Crrritic

And then there were none.

How many freaking watermelons does one thief need?  FIVE.  The answer is FIVE.

What chafes me most is that the stuff wasn’t ripe!  Stealing vegetables is tacky and unethical, but at least you should know what you are doing!  I could live in denial about the tomatoes.  But the watermelon?   Maybe somebody will start a special gardening class for thieves so they can get a ripe one the first time!

This is just what Preppers say will happen to my vegetables when THE APOCALYPSE IS COMING! It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.  At least R.E.M. feels fine.

No one was harmed in the making of this photo.

Vegetable theft is such a common problem, Google auto-fills the search box as you type it– a sure sign the topic has been searched before.  Like my garden.

It’s not deer.  Deer don’t leave a pile of reject tomatoes by the driveway.

A few years back, I awoke to a basil stub and a parsley stub.  This was at my house in the ‘burbs, not the farm.  There are no deer in the ‘hood.  Wracking my diminishing brain for what could have happened, I kept going back to look at the half-inch stick that used to be my basil.  Realization dawned, slower than a first cup of coffee at noon.  It just seems impossible, even years later, that someone would know how to cook with basil and not know how to harvest it.  Herbatheft in the ‘burbs.

I’m going to start growing all radishes.  Nobody ever steals radishes.

If you are one of the harvest-challenged, you are not alone.

I poo you not, when I sold garlic starts, the first sentence of my explanation about how to grow them started with, “Plant it pointy side up.”  Genuine surprise stared back about 25% of the time.  Some of the roots are still on it when you buy it at the store!  Did they think the roots grew on top?

So if you are that cucumburglar, here’s the easy test: If the fruit comes off the plant easily, it is ready.  If the branch/vine/plant breaks, the loot is NOT ready.  STOP PULLING when the plant starts to come with you.

Ha Ha! The last one was rotten.

Here’s a link to a Cornell article on how to recognize finished vegetables, so you don’t have to take so many to get some good ones.

Another clue: If there is only one watermelon left in the field, it probably wasn’t left as a gift for you.  It is probably rotten.  Don’t throw it into my neighbor’s yard on your way out.  Check to see if there is a big rotten crack in it BEFORE YOU TAKE IT!  Ha ha!  Gunk’s on you!

“The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.” ~William Shakespeare

Rebecca Caley started selling plants as a child and opened her first garden center in coastal South Carolina at age 23 – just last year! (Give or take a couple decades.)  She now lives outside of Atlanta.  She has twin boys, 3 cats, 8 chickens and an 8 foot black rat snake, but it’s just squatting.

Posted by

Rebecca Caley

on October 9, 2013 at 11:31 am, in the category Guest Rants.

Comment List

  • Chris Baswell 19 / 11 / 2015

    Among the blessings of the little Hudson Valley village where I garden is that my vegetables — extensive, and exposed — have never yet been pilfered. Even though I am often obviously absent all week. Thank you, neighbors!

  • Rebecca Caley 16 / 09 / 2016

    Maybe you have better thieves than me. Mine could have been less obvious about it.

  • Grace 06 / 11 / 2016

    Well that just beats all – the great watermelon thief!!!

  • Rebecca Caley 07 / 11 / 2016

    Too bad it’s not the Great Pumpkin bringing toys to all the good gardeners. 😉

  • Laura Bell 11 / 11 / 2016

    Still, it’s a tough call whether I’d rather have my produce stolen by a human thief or the furred variety. I’m presuming that humans don’t leave poop in their wake, so maybe that’s my preference if I have to choose.

  • Rebecca Caley 17 / 11 / 2016

    Deer don’t eat watermelon. But they do eat sunflowers and that is depressing.

  • Christopher C NC 17 / 11 / 2016

    I have a fairly regular flower thief who has tromped through the roadside vegetable garden, smashing seedlings to get to the sunflowers. At least my flower thief uses clippers unlike the one at a client’s garden who just breaks things and pulls the flowers off.

  • Rebecca Caley 19 / 11 / 2016

    That is crazy! How do those people think that stuff got there?

  • Anne Oliver 21 / 11 / 2016

    Motion-activated lights and cameras, great deterrent! Someone once stole a freshly planted rosebush from my front yard two days before Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day! Your child is a thief!

  • Rebecca Caley 21 / 11 / 2016

    Somebody dug up the zinnias we had landcaped with at the garden center and broke the heads off of all the dill.

  • Mischelle 21 / 11 / 2016

    My husband once pulled into the driveway of our suburban corner lot home one afternoon and did a double-take. Two “lovely” ladies armed with straw hats and clippers were strolling through my cutting garden with the makings of bouquets in their hands. When he walked up and politely asked them how I knew them they replied, “Oh, we were on a garden tour here a couple of years ago and the flowers are so beautiful. We were sure your wife wouldn’t mind sharing, so we come to pick every now and then!” What??!

  • Rebecca Caley 22 / 11 / 2016

    Not that she wouldn’t, but shouldn’t they have asked?!

  • Mischelle 22 / 11 / 2016


  • Rebecca Caley 22 / 11 / 2016

    How frustrating for your friends. Did they see their flowers later planted in somebody’s yard?

  • Laura Bell 22 / 11 / 2016

    I have a gorgeous red rose right beside my front door. I mean right beside. Twenty feet from the street. And still, people will come and take one of the blooms. Some even come armed with clippers (I should be grateful for small favors, I know), which just baffle me. You planned on picking a rose and came prepared to do so, but you couldn’t bother to knock and ask permission?

  • Mischelle 23 / 11 / 2016

    And there’s the rub! I’ve been known to keep a shovel by the door when my Campanula glomerata are in bloom as I get so many inquiries about them. After a stern warning about their wandering tendencies I’ll offer a spadefull to whomever inquires. Not a bit selfish about sharing, but really? My yard is not a public park.

  • Susan P 23 / 11 / 2016

    I steal fruit that overhangs the sidewalk, and sometimes flowers that do the same, but that’s rare. I grew up in Florida and consider any citrus I have to avoid hitting my head when walking around the block as fair game. However when the neighborhood association lawn guys would trim the sound-barrier trees behind our house (we lived backed-up to a reasonably busy road), they would pick every single mango on my back-yard tree. That really sucked, the mangoes were still green. Luckily my neighbor three houses down, who had four huge trees, would give me bags of her mangoes since her dad was Columbian and would chat with/threaten the workers in Spanish.

  • Sarah P 23 / 11 / 2016

    Thats funny, I sometimes came home to find people picking up pecans from the sidewalk in front of my house. I didn’t mind since I’m allergic to them anyway, but you are right– if its a public walkway, its fair game!

  • Rebecca Caley 23 / 11 / 2016

    Certainly have that on the list. I bought a bunch of Spy Gear toys when they were on sale, just haven’t put them out. We also have a cordless webcam we bougth to find out which cat was pooing int hte dining room and when. 😉

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