Somebody is stealing my tomatoes. How do I stop them?
I have a big vegetable garden
in my front
(1st photo shows how close it is to my house; 2nd how close to my street) yard. It's on a fairly busy street; there are lots of cars, dog walkers, joggers, etc. I just moved into the house last October and I'm on a friendly basis with all my immediate neighbors - not, you know, much more than chatting acquaintances but not silence and icy looks either.
My vegetable garden has been yielding a giant crop of squash and cucumbers and peppers but I couldn't figure out why the tomatoes weren't ripening until Saturday, when I realized that two tomatoes I had had my eye on as probably being ripe by the weekend were just - gone. There are six tomato plants in the garden. Suddenly it all clicked into place: the persistence of green only tomatoes, the weird non ripening and the peculiar shortage of tomatoes. I have a tomato thief and, clearly, it has to be somebody who is keeping a close eye on the garden, because they're taking them right as they ripen. They're even taking the cherry tomatoes.
So, how do I get this person to stop? I thought about a sign "Please leave my tomatoes alone" or something but my experience with passive/aggressive signs has always been that they backfire and also, I don't want anyone to see the sign and think "Aha! I too could be getting free vegetables here!" I thought about tying my dogs up in the front yard but that's a bit rough on the dogs. I am still thinking about trying to find some kind of electric eye apparatus that would whoop and blink but I'm a complete electronics ignoramus and don't want to spend the earth on this either. I really would like to have a couple of ripe tomatoes this summer, so, please help!