Alright! This is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com!
Had a question lately, the other day—and I get it a lot actually so I’m making a
video for the first time about this subject. “Hey John, what do you do about that’s
stealing you food?” Well let me tell ya! If you’re gonna steal
my food, you’re gonna get the pitchfork!! And this is a fiberglass handle so it’s
not gonna break when I’m hitting you over the head!
Okay, all joking aside, you know, I really don’t have an issue with people stealing
any of the food here. I live in nice, middle-class neighborhood here in suburbia in Northern
California, so I’m not like in downtown LA or in New York City or anything. And the
other thing, you know, there is some traffic walking up and down my street—it’s not
a busy street buy any means—but the other thing is, you know, most people don’t even
think about food growing in the front yard. “That’s ridiculous! You grow a lawn in
your front yard, you don’t grow food in your front yard! This isn’t stuff to eat!
This is all stuff to look at to make it look pretty! You know, food doesn’t come from
the ground! It comes from McDonald’s, and Burger King, and all the fast food and restaurants—wait,
maybe it even comes from the supermarket… But it doesn’t come from the front yard!
That’s ridiculous!” So most people it’s just out of their consciousness,
unfortunately, that all this is edible, organic, and actually really high quality. So on the
occasional person that comes by and that’s admiring my garden and I happen to be out
here—and I’m out here a lot, you know tending it, walking around, hanging out, I
was out eating lunch today—and they’ll make comments on my garden and say “Wow,
what’s that?” and in many cases, I’ll offer people walking by free food to bring
home. I really like to introduce people to new tastes and new varieties, you know. Last
year, I gave some red Russian kale and some dino kale to different people and told them
that they can eat it raw and they were absolutely amazed! Like “I could eat this raw?” and
I’m like “Yeah! Just cut it up into small bits and put it in a salad and it tastes really
good.” And that’s because the kale at the store, it’s been picked a week, a week
and a half, two weeks ago and it’s shipped to you and then it starts to taste bitter.
And that’s when it starts to go bad. But fresh kale grown organically in the right
soil, and soil amendments, and rock dust minerals, tastes really good.
But yeah, I mean, I have flowers here and most people would never think that you could
eat flowers, they’re just something that you give at weddings or put on a table for
decorations, but all my flowers are edible. And even these flowers are edible. Arugula
flowers. And so I have arugula here in the front if people think they could eat this.
They can certainly try. Most people might not love the taste, I like the taste of fresh
arugula. And it’s all edible. Now, if I did have some issues, if I did—I
generally believe people are good—and you know I have had a couple of instances where
I have seen people pick tomatoes and that’s where you’re gonna get into some challenges.
When you grow some more common crops, like tomatoes or even peppers I think I’ve had
some issues with, corn, where people know what the hell they are. Other people, they
don’t know what arugula is. They probably never seen spinach growing in the ground!
Or dino kale, man, that thing’s really weird and it’s all crinkled leaves! Yeah, so most
people don’t know… But if I did have some issues and I’ve had friends—talked to
some friends that live on a busy street or maybe lower income areas that people actually
eat vegetables in those areas because they don’t have a lot of money to buy the expensive
stuff. I would use something like this that I put on my arbor here. This is basically
hog fencing. It’s galvanized, or I would use hurricane fencing around the perimeter
of my lot and then I would actually grow things up that, so I actually have the community
garden—I’ve actually had some issues where some of my food disappears because it’s
basically a walkthrough, a cut-through area and some of my cucumbers have disappeared
but it’s not like they’re stripped. So I tend to plant things that are less desirable,
that I don’t particularly care for, on the boundaries where there’s a lot of traffic
so things like green beans, not too into… Fava beans, actually this season I’m planting
against the fence and toward the fences that you can’t get to, that’s where I’ll
plant snow peas and other things that I really like. So plant things that’ll vine up, that’ll
fill in, so people can’t see. And actually this place in the summertime, I have a big
melon trellis here that you couldn’t really even see what I was growing in my yard cause
it’s great privacy. But I would do hurricane fencing or something
like this around the perimeter of your yard so the literally can’t reach in or they
could reach in this far and, you know, plant tomatoes and things out of reach. But plant
other edibles to grow up the fence. The other thing I’ll do is often times I’ll
go around to my neighbors and share food so when I have bountiful harvest, especially
in the summertime, they all—who doesn’t love cherry tomatoes? So I’ll go around
door to door and give all my neighbors cherry tomatoes. I’ll also ask them “Hey, what’s
your favorite fruit or vegetable?” and I’ll grow a couple plants for them. The lady over
here liked eggplants and things like that. So I don’t really have an issue with people
stealing my food maybe because I don’t really even think about it, but someone asks or somebody’s
admiring and I’ll be happy to share as long as I have bountiful harvests as I do with
many things. Want to just point out one last thing, let’s
come over to this side…and actually, you know, you could work with your neighbors too,
so if they’re admiring your food or there’s a problem, you could actually offer to farm
their land. So let’s come over here…and this is my property line over here. This is
where it ends, this raised bed that has the edging on it, and then if you just go over
a little bit further, this section right here is my neighbor’s yard. So I talked to my
neighbors and every year, they loved tomatoes. So it started out with me having about twenty
extra tomato plants, or ten extra tomato plants, and one year I offered “Can I plant these
tomato plants on your property? You can harvest all the tomatoes from them you want and I’ll
maintain them and I’ll even water them.” They said sure, so I’m gonna do that again
this year, we’re getting ready for planting the tomatoes out on their property again so
they could have lots of tomatoes. But in the off season, I planted more arugula.
Arugula grows really well, we try to keep this nice and maintained and looking nice
and it’s less that my neighbor basically has to grow or weed whack, because this is
all basically crabgrass over here. We do need to clean this up a little bit, the arugula’s
gone to bolt and flower… So this is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com.
Hope you’ve learned a little bit on how I deal with people stealing my produce, which
doesn’t really happen. So we’ll see you next time.