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RE: Fencing

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Fencing
  • From: yarrow@sfo.com
  • Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 13:22:02 -0700

At 10:04 AM -0700 10/24/05, Cary Oshins of Lehigh County, PA, wrote:
>Neither of the two gardens (both around 10 plots) that I manage have
>fencing, and theft is the #1 problem.  They are both situated on public
>parks, and neither has an effective association.  My question to those with
>fences: Are they locked? Does every plot-holder get a key?  Are there
>limited access hours?  I'd be interested to hear how these and related
>details are worked out.

Here in suburbia (population 60K), the main community garden is fenced,
with gates that latch but don't lock. It's across the parking lot from the
public library and near the community art center, so it has lots of nearby
activity and gets used a fair amount by the public. It never feels
deserted. People park and then spend their lunch hour in or near the
garden, or they walk dogs (on the perimeter path) or children or
themselves, or wander over after going to the library. I have heard of
problems with poaching, but I have not seen it myself (except for the
squirrels and birds), and I have heard one report of vandalism and one
report of teenagers using drugs in the nearby shrubbery after dark. We do
have signs posted saying that people are welcome to walk through, but
picking is not allowed (in 4 languages).

Another community garden site in town is adjacent to a public park that
often has picnickers and big parties on the weekends. The garden plots are
fenced with combination locks on the gates -- I don't know the story. I
have seen homeless people camping in the bushes nearby, though, and since
cars are allowed on the unpaved perimeter path, an occasional teenager
drives around the loop too fast. Also, the site is surrounded by trees, so
it feels secluded and does not get much foot traffic besides gardeners and
dog walkers. It almost always feels deserted when I walk the dogs there.

So I think one key factor is whether there is enough activity nearby to
make would-be scofflaws feel that they are being watched. I also think a
fence is important to "mark" the space, and "no picking" signs remove any
doubt for anyone who is tempted.

Palo Alto, Calif.

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