Lately there has been a trend of theft, vandalism and general nastiness when it comes to allotments and gardens in the UK. I see news articles every day showcasing allotments around the country where sheds have been burned to the ground, beloved chickens have been killed for no reason, or tools have been stolen.
It isn’t just tools or sheds at risk either. As well as animals, people have reported vegetables having been stolen — poly tunnels completely emptied, pots filled with expensive trees and flowers taken. Gardeners invest time, sweat and blood into their craft, so seeing people being left with nothing is heart breaking.
We even had a ‘visitor’ to my little back yard plot when I lived in the North West, although we aren’t sure if it was animal or human. One potato plant had been pulled out, exposing the potatoes that weren’t ready at that time. It was only a small thing, but it felt so violating. I began researching ways to protect my plants and planters, in an effort to make my little space less appealing to would-be-pilferers.
There are a number of things you can do, to make your garden or allotment less desirable to those wanting to pinch your produce – here are a few:
Think about gravel
Nobody can approach noiselessly on gravel. Nobody. Gravel is also pretty easy to maintain, and there are lots of different varieties you can choose from these days.
‘Studding’ the top of walls
I see a few suggestions of glueing glass on the top of walls, which is called ‘studding’. This is against the law and can land you with a lawsuit if someone is injured on it.
It isn’t against the law however, to have a trailing plant covered with thorns on the wall to do this for you. Rosa ‘mermaid’ has been suggested as one of the best to do this with as it has particularly vicious double thorns.
It’s worth looking into technology too. Motion activated lights and security cameras are a great deterrent, although not the first choice of people who have regular wild visitors to their garden.
CCTV is also an option, a lot of CCTV cameras can now be accessed via an app on your phone which means you almost always have direct access.
Don’t leave things like ladders accessible for any would-be Thief. Lock them up, even if you have them in a garage or shed. A bicycle lock around the main mechanism works will, so that they can’t extend.
Invest in a decent storage space
A lean-to might be cheap and easy, but a well built shed is much more secure. Tools and gardening technology is a very attractive item for thieves as they can be sold on very quickly, so making sure yours are out of sight and secure is imperative. Shed alarms are also worth investing in, so that anyone accessing the shed without permission sets it off. The alarm sound alone is often enough to frighten the thief into fleeing!
Looking after the planters
Planter security cables are sadly something that is becoming more and more of a garden necessity. For your expensive or attractive plants, pots or planters — again, attractive for thieves as they are easy to remove and replace in a new setting.
Investing in heavy, hard to move planters is also an option if you want a more permanent solution — or weigh any big pots down with bricks before planting.