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Sarah Stultz: What happened to respecting others’ property?

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I’ve written about my love of gardening numerous times in the newspaper, as it is something that gives me enjoyment throughout the summer months.

This past weekend I was out finally getting my garden started, and I was reminded of the effort that goes into planting and maintaining a garden.

I planted rows of green beans, carrots, potatoes and onions, and one of my neighboring gardeners was nice enough to give me an extra cucumber plant he didn’t need, as well. 

I’ll admit I was working pretty slowly, but I was at the garden for a couple hours, tilling up the soil with my garden hoe, clearing the soil of extra debris with a rake loaned to me by the same neighboring gardener, and then digging my rows, placing the seeds and covering them up with dirt again. Oh, and we can’t forget watering them.

I hope to get my other plot planted this coming weekend with other vegetables, including tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeños, zucchini and pumpkins.

As I worked, I thought about a call I had received a few days before from another gardener who rents space on the opposite end of the Brookside community gardens, and who had gotten a quicker start on her garden.

But to her dismay, when she went out to the garden in the middle of the week, she found that someone had turned on the hose on her neighbor’s plot and ridden their bike up and down and all around her and that other neighbor’s plot.

There were tire marks and footprints all over the plots.

Just in a few minutes of fun, the hard work of two gardeners was set back. From the looks of the plots when I went out there on Thursday, it was clear they would likely have to be redone. 

While I was out at the garden on Saturday, I mentioned what had happened to a few of the other gardeners there, and we talked about how people oftentimes have a misunderstanding of what the community gardens are.

Some people think the gardens are planted by volunteers for the enjoyment of the whole community, when in reality the spaces are rented and the renters of those plots put in long hours of their own time to raise their own produce for their families and others.

I like the idea of a garden where people in need of food would have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but this is not what these gardens are.

To those people who went on a joyride through the plots of two fellow gardeners, I hope you realize the time, effort and money that goes into these gardens.

I also hope people will remember to treat not only these gardens, but all property, with respect.

And remember the Golden Rule before you act.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.