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At a loss and very depressed.

 
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Hi all,

I recently had a very traumatic experience, and I could sure use a shoulder.  

I've belonged to the same community garden for 23 years.  I've been there the longest except for this one couple, who were part of the founding members way back when God was young.   I've heard they were very active in the distant past, but in the 23 years I've been there, I have never seen either of them lift a finger to do any work on the community areas.  That's a long time to rest on your laurels, but that doesn't bother me.  There have been times when I couldn't contribute much.

What does bother me is that they find fault with every. single. thing. that I do, and I do a LOT of work there.  I'm not bragging, but honestly, I do more than almost any other member, and I do it on a consistent basis.  Not just on meeting day once a month.  I personally planted and chipped an entire area along the path behind the garden.  It's about a block long, and it took me all winter to do it, 4-6 hours a week.  And I bought a lot of plants and supplies with my own money, never asking to reimbursed.

They pick on every little thing.  And they constantly site THE RULES about how something I've done is NOT PERMITTED!, even though many other people are doing the same thing.  One of my favorites was when I had pruned a very large escalonia all by myself, and I dragged the branches to the back of the garden.  She had the nerve to bring it up at a meeting that I should have sawn all the branches into 2" pieces.  Last fall, she ran up to me and screamed in my face when I used the hose to give my car a spritz.  I thought she was going to bite me.  Then, she brings it up at a meeting SIX MONTHS LATER (they go to Australia every winter).  Can you imagine that this stuck in her craw for SIX MONTHS???  There have been many other incidences of this kind of behavior.  The husband, who used to remain quiet, is now joining in and adding his own rebukes.  I have told the garden coordinator, and he's certainly seen a lot of it, and he does nothing about muzzling them.  I don't expect medals and accolades, but I least expect to not be constantly attacked for petty things.

There's also another woman there, (I'll call her "M") who has been on my back for the last 5 months.  Because my plot is one of the smallest in the garden, I was assigned an extra plot by the coordinator (within the rules) to try growing some special corn, with the understanding that when the crop was done, the plot again reverts to being available for someone on the wait list.  This woman can't accept it, even tho it's been explained over and over to her.  She goes around telling everyone I have 3 plots (because I share another small plot with my boyfriend, which is also within the rules).  

Normally, I laugh it off.  But last week, the 3 of them took it to a level that was so nasty, so mean, so vicious, that I can't laugh at it any more.  We had our meeting, and the coordinator always makes us do this stupid thing where we have to say our name and what we're growing.  I said I was growing corn and pumpkins, and M kept saying things like, "What about what you're growing in your other 3 plots?  I tried to ignore her, and when they asked it there was any new business, I politely asked permission to take over the corn patch and combine it with the unused and derelict community plot next to it.  Then I would give up my much smaller plot.  M kept interrupting me and wouldn't let me speak, saying things like "You already have 3 plots!"  until I blew up at her.  And then the couple had to butt in.  The husband was absolutely gleeful about it, citing rules and regulations and why it couldn't be done.  "OH NO, THAT'S ILLEGAL!"  He also told everyone that my corn patch was a "community" plot, and anyone could take from there.  When I went to water on Friday, guess what?  One of my pumpkins was missing.  Very neatly cut off the vine.

No one stood up for me either, except one guy who thought it was a good idea.  And the president, who TOLD ME HE WOULD BACK ME UP when I asked him about it a few days before, didn't say a word.  They wouldn't let me speak, shouted me down, and basically humiliated me in front of all the members.  And there are a LOT of members.  It's a big garden.  I ended up really losing my temper (and that takes a lot of instigation.  I'm very mild mannered) and I cursed them all out.  When M followed me around, complaining again about me having "3 plots", I threw a (small) pumpkin at her and told her to get away from me.  I was so upset, my bf had to physically hold me back from doing her serious bodily harm.

All the joy has gone out of it for me.  I'm seriously considering leaving.  It used to be my happy place, for 23 years.  Now I don't even want to go there.  When I go to water, it's like I have PTSD.  All the bad memories come back.  The anger, the humiliation, the absolutely gleeful way they tore into me.  It upsets me for the entire day.  The only reason I don't just quit is because my 20 y/o bonsai tree is there, in the plot.  I can't move it until it goes dormant, and I don't have a good place to keep it (yet another long and sad story).

I don't know what to do.  I feel so abused, so shat upon.  Like they say, no good deed goes unpunished.






 
pollinator
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Social dysfunction and constantly being prepared for confrontation or conflict is mentally damaging.  You can start coping by dissociating from it, which is only helpful in rare situations, not constant conflict.  It definitely sounds like you're suffering in this environment, and from what you've shared, these people sound toxic.  No 'happy place' is worth toxic people sh*tting on you.  It can be really hard when you're sentimental and attached to a place, idea, community, or memory, but look at the moment; it's making you miserable, it's causing mental agitation, stress, anxiety, depression.  Perhaps time to divorce the 23-year-old relationship here and move on.  These people obviously don't care to help you or have you around.  From what you said, they're just abusing you, probably hoping you'll leave at some point.  Give 'em what they want and good riddance to bad rubbish, says I!  Let them stew in their own crock without you.  Onward to new horizons! :)

Easier said than done, of course.  I'm sorry you're going through this <3

Edit; Actually, do you live here then?  Or you're just a member to this community garden?  And how much is that bonzai worth to you?  Can you distance yourself and have your partner keep an eye on the bonzai for you until it's dormant?
 
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Sounds like a "community" garden in name only.  Whenever the focus turns to The Rules instead of The Mission, problems arise.  At the same time, The Rules exist to keep order and prevent disorder that brings issues for all members of the community.  It seems that most community organizations draft all kinds of rules and regulations about what you can and can't do and have no regulations on how to interact with other members of the community.  Having a Parlimentarian and following Roberts Rules of Order can help prevent the types of behaviors you describe in your meetings.

IMHO, your recourses now are either to determine if you wish to continue to participate in this community garden or find a different way/place to garden.  If you choose to stay, it seems you will have to adjust your expectations and limit yourself to exactly what the rules state and do nothing more than that.  Others seem determined that The Rules are their idol and will eviscerate anyone who doesn't follow The Rules to the letter.  That appears to be the reality that you must accept.  If you are unable to find peace with that acceptance, it would seem you other option is to depart from the place and find another way to garden.  

Whatever you decide to do, try to learn from the experience.  Analyze you actions as objectively as possible and learn from mistakes you have made.  Do not carry anger and resentment with you or the past will weigh you down and ruin both your present and future.  Best of luck to you in the future.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Bob Gallamore wrote:Sounds like a "community" garden in name only.  Whenever the focus turns to The Rules instead of The Mission, problems arise.  At the same time, The Rules exist to keep order and prevent disorder that brings issues for all members of the community.  It seems that most community organizations draft all kinds of rules and regulations about what you can and can't do and have no regulations on how to interact with other members of the community.  Having a Parlimentarian and following Roberts Rules of Order can help prevent the types of behaviors you describe in your meetings.



I have, in the past, tried to get them to follow RROO a little better, to no avail.  They were bringing things up at meetings and voting on them right then, with no wait period and no quorum.  But I would say 2/3 of the members don't even speak English, and don't understand what's going on.  They raise their hands for anything, they'll raise their hands on a "for" vote, and then they raise them again on a "nay"...sigh.


If you choose to stay, it seems you will have to adjust your expectations and limit yourself to exactly what the rules state and do nothing more than that.  Others seem determined that The Rules are their idol and will eviscerate anyone who doesn't follow The Rules to the letter.  That appears to be the reality that you must accept.  If you are unable to find peace with that acceptance, it would seem you other option is to depart from the place and find another way to garden.  



The sick thing is, I finally got a copy of the all hallowed rules, and except for having some flower pots outside my plot, (which lots of people have) nothing I've done has been "against the law!"  And nothing I proposed was against the law, either!  So it seems they are pulling these "laws" out of their ass.  And yet, no one says anything.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Jen Fan wrote:
Easier said than done, of course.  I'm sorry you're going through this



Thank you.  Just hearing a little sympathy helps a lot.

Edit; Actually, do you live here then?  Or you're just a member to this community garden?  



No, no one lives there.  It's just a community garden.

And how much is that bonzai worth to you?  Can you distance yourself and have your partner keep an eye on the bonzai for you until it's dormant?



It means a lot to me.  I grew him from a twig in a 2" pot that I bought in 1997.  He has a massive trunk, and I'm very attached to him.  My partner doesn't drive, so it would be really out of his way to go there and water it on his bicycle.  I could probably limit myself to once a week if I were willing to let the corn go to hell.  We get no rain here for 6-8 months, and none due 'till November.  So things must be watered.  I can let go of everything else in my plot except the bonsai.  He's family.
 
pollinator
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If these people had a home owners association their power trip would have somewhere else to play out.

It sure sounds like  a psychopathic garden Association.  Likely Not fixable and certainly toxic.

Move on and heal.

And since they wont say it, I will.

Thank you for selflessly working and spending to make this garden productive and beautiful. Many have and will continue to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
 
Lori Ziemba
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J Davis wrote:

Thank you for selflessly working and spending to make this garden productive and beautiful. Many have and will continue to enjoy the fruit of your labor.



Thank you.  That means a lot to me.
 
Jen Fan
pollinator
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Lori Ziemba wrote:

It means a lot to me.  I grew him from a twig in a 2" pot that I bought in 1997.  He has a massive trunk, and I'm very attached to him.  My partner doesn't drive, so it would be really out of his way to go there and water it on his bicycle.  I could probably limit myself to once a week if I were willing to let the corn go to hell.  We get no rain here for 6-8 months, and none due 'till November.  So things must be watered.  I can let go of everything else in my plot except the bonsai.  He's family.



Would it be too heartbreaking to let the corn go?  It sounds like you might not even get any of it anyway if you do the work, if your pumpkins are getting taken by others.  Can you really expect these people to leave your corn alone and let you harvest it in peace?

I dunno.  If it were me I might reduce my exposure to these folks as much as possible.  But I don't know all the details or the whole situation, you have a LOT to consider, I'm sure
 
Lori Ziemba
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Jen Fan wrote:

Lori Ziemba wrote:


Would it be too heartbreaking to let the corn go?  It sounds like you might not even get any of it anyway if you do the work, if your pumpkins are getting taken by others.  Can you really expect these people to leave your corn alone and let you harvest it in peace?

I dunno.  If it were me I might reduce my exposure to these folks as much as possible.  But I don't know all the details or the whole situation, you have a LOT to consider, I'm sure



Yes, I could let the corn go, altho I've waited so long to see it (it's glass gem) and it's almost ripe.  It would kind of irk me to leave it after all the work I put into it.  But I could.  And you're right, they probably will steal it.  I didn't hear it, but my bf told me after I left, the man told everyone it was a community plot, and anyone could take from it.  Can you believe that?

I'm looking into another CG closer to my building.  It's not as nice, it's right on the street, and I'd be afraid to keep my bonsai there.  And I'll probably have to pay some kind of fee.  I'm also thinking of putting some self watering containers up on the roof, altho if the landlady finds out, she'll remove them.

 
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Sending hugs.

I have had two different community garden plots in gardens run by two different organizations. They were wonderful. Yours sounds like it is rapidly deteriorating.  I think tell first rule of gardens is do not steal from other plots. Once that's gone... I don't see the point.

Gardens are places to dig your hands in the eartb, smell green growing things, feel the sun and the rain, and sit under the blue sky, temporarily free from the city, and let stress melt away. ,They are places to  chat with neighours and maybe swap produce and water for the others while they are on vacation. They are COMMUNITY gardens.

Gardens are not, or should not be, places to deal with not-so passive agressive community dynamics. Are there any other gardens nearby, can you get on a waitlist? It sounds like there maybe jealousy at play, and maybe a bid for leadership games that you aren't interested in playing. I got stressed just reading that. I can imagine, based on similar occurrences in places that were formerly favourites, that those experienced have sucked the joy right out of it. Always being on the lookout for them, etc.

Do you know what their cars look like so you can drive past if you see they are there? Can you skip going to meetings? Can you change your watering schedule to, say, early mornings or late evenings until you find another garden? Could you mulch or add some of those plastic water bottles cut open upside down to decrease how often you are thee? My gardens allowed 2 ft boundary fences to demarcate plot bounderies. That might provide visual deterrence to keep people out.  

As a thought, all of the gardens I know have been run by the municipality or a charity representing the municipality. Gardeners had way less power, and therefore, no meetings, and a very defined power structure. Doesn't sound like your garden president is taking much of a leadership role :(

 
pollinator
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Incapable, lazy, jealous not caring people having fun setting up the whole group against you, while people are shutting up. Enjoying to take it a bit further every time. They have nothing to lose, for them it's play. Psychopath rule, nothing you can do, but plant copious amounts of Japanese knotweed in all forgotten corners of their plot while they fly to Australia planning on how to push you further.
 
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Seems like many of the current members are not very nice people, and a few are bullies. So, perhaps you need to decide whether it’s worth the anguish to continue with them, but, there are alternatives:

1. Easier said than done, but simply ignore them – turn around and walk away shuts them down.
2. When they approach you in the garden, simply put the hose on them – they will certainly keep a distance from then on. (Positive/negative reinforcement like training a pet)
3. Let your garden plots turn to self-seeding ‘weeds’ so they infest others gardens – if questioned, you’re legitimately growing dandelions, etc
4. Use the ‘Rules’ against them, and keep pushing for the ‘Rules’ to be enforced. I bet if you were to threaten Lawyer action, they would back off. (If you have a friend who is legal-savvy, take them to the meeting, sit back and enjoy).
5. If they ‘steal’ your crops, then ‘borrow’ some of theirs too. The ‘tit-for-tat’ is childish, but can be very enjoyable to watch as they implode from exasperation.
6. Extreme: do a Roman Army on their arses – pull out all your plants, spread a lot of salt on the soil and water it in, then resign membership – they will think they won and now have your garden plots, but nothing will grow.

I've been through similar experiences in Clubs. I found it good practice to remove emotion from the equation and think through the process logically - it's not a matter of life & death, it's just personal attachment to a 'thing'. Eliminating the emotional aspects certainly allowed me to think clearly and strategise ways forward that suited my needs and wants.


What REALLY makes me sad is the obnoxious couple travels HERE in your winter. PLEASE, we have enough of our own dicks to deal with, don’t need to import them too!
 
master pollinator
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I would move on if that's an option for you.  For me, gardening is spiritual and zen-like.  One of my favorite things to do is a garden experiment that goes against the grain.    

If it's an option move to a plot where you will be appreciated or left to your own devices.  I have no patience for type A control freaks and it would ruin the gardening experience.  The main women should probably go run an HOA.   I bet there are people in your garden group that agree with you but do not have the courage to

stand up and voice their opinion.  
 
pollinator
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This sounds so much like a professional group I belong to. I am in the process of extricating myself right now, after a few years of quiet resistance. Like your situation, it sounds like The Jerks have nothing better to do than talk about me, what a sad life!
I am getting through the last bit by simply stating my mind. "Since you all dislike me so much, I'm not coming to your meeting this month." "I don't understand why you are so disdainful, and quite frankly don't care." In fact, there is a lot of "I don't understand". I am finding that it makes people very uncomfortable with their own biases, although there is sadly no excuse for stupid.

My goal was just to reach a commitment that I made, and once that is done at the end of the month I'm washing my hands of this group and leaving them to consume each other, which will probably be the next step. The sad part is that these groups that are so venomous are on the edge of dysfunction, and so you see the promise in them and think you can help get them back into order (which was how I was sucked in in the first place).
But this year the stress started making me sick, and I don't have time for that.

I am so sorry that your garden, the place that can do the most for your mental health, has become a stressor. I hope you find a new place, soon, and that you can just skip the meetings. I also am 100% with F Agricola. Just walk away, they're not worth your time.  Maybe after planting whatever invasive weed you can find, spelling out some nasty words.
 
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Sunk cost fallacy. At this point you see 23 years of work. That is your sunk cost. You can't see leaving it because of that. In reality, it is time for you to go. You can find happiness at another garden and I suggest you do!
 
pollinator
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The principle of my daughter's school asked me to join the parent action committee. He thought that I might be able to help bring some order. I said that I would consider it, but he would have to get rid of that awful bitch who is so rotten to the other mothers on the committee. This is something he did not want to do, because he did not want to direct her venom in his direction. He thought that it could be watered down by adding people who were nicer. I told him that those where my terms and that I would have no problem letting her know about it myself. Let's have a special vote and get it done. Nothing was done, and I didn't join the committee.

A few months later, I led a group of parents in repairing the adventure playground. Some of the same mothers from the committee were helping and there was zero bickering. Everyone got along and we got a lot of work done.

The rotten one came over to inform me that I needed to submit plans to the committee, before doing anything more. I told her that I would do no such thing and would not be taking any advice from those not involved in the project. She went back inside and I don't think we ever spoke again.☺

Give your fellow gardeners a choice. Kick out the offending couple or kick you out. I can see positive in both outcomes.
 
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Oh my goodness...forwarding a little lovingkindness if wanted.

I'm so sorry for the loss of happiness in a much-enjoyed place.
It's okay to be angry and not-at-all-okay about all this.

Please be extra-good to yourself, whatever is happening?
(virtual hug, if wanted)
 
pollinator
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I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I'm not unfamiliar with things like that being as a family member considers it his right to belittle and attack others, constantly. My solution is not staying or even visiting that home for longer than a couple days, if that. Although my sister's home is important to me, I weigh what I can legitimately do about the situation and whether it would be responsible to stick around more and try to do it. My conclusion is - not. There are legal and social constraints we don't want to throw out or even weaken and also this: Don't wrestle with a pig - the pig likes it and _you_ get filthy. The Bible says "do not contend with a fool". My own experience and belief is that we become like that which we struggle against.  I hope you can hear in the above that there is nothing wrong with you or abnormal about your situation. There _is_ a very stressful position which is being applied to you that I think you cannot afford to let continue in it's present form. Not everybody enjoys to constantly fight, but some do. If you're not one (I'm not), you need to take other action to stop taking damage all the time.

It's important to _act_ on your problem. The garden, I'm afraid, is not your problem - the destruction of you health and well being _is_. I cannot really know what's going on because I'm not there and, truthfully, your story is only one side. However, I can hear loud and clear that you're being attacked, getting mauled, consistently and continuously and although in special rare situations people can "live with" that for a while, there is a huge cost and I hear nothing that sounds like you can justify continuing like that. Losing your temper, when, as you said, you rarely do, needs to be a red flag for you:  Don't ignore it. Anger is a natural emotion, as good as any other emotion when handled w/in the larger context of one's life. It's a survival emotion. It cuts you free, for a brief span, from  your ruts and habitual behavior. It can be very good for you. Use it's energy, and freedom - don't let it use you - and make changes.

Almost _any_ changes will do for a start. That point is, DO something. Now. Change something and keep paying attention and changing further as it becomes clear what's the necessary and responsible thing for you to do to mend you health. Some people might knock heads and spill blood (lawyers), but that may not be "you". Everything you do brings consequences, so it's quite important to act in ways you actually believe in for one reason or another. To me, it doesn't sound like that group is a good bet for you to engage with anymore: Fighting is costly in all ways, you don't seem to be a pugnacious person _and_ they don't seem worth the huge price. "Pearls before swine" was a criticism of foolish behavior, not just a glib observation about wasted effort. They're not good enough for you anymore. But you have to make the decision. Things are always connected with other things, lots of strings, etc etc.  So decisions and actions can be daunting. But very necessary when we need to take responsibility for our health.


Best luck,
Rufus



 
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It's awful to be punished for helping!

It's an awful feeling when you do something nice for people and they reject it instead of thanking you. It sounds like you are being singled out. You can only fight/laugh-it-off for so long before you explode; totally understandable.

Sounds like you have a lot invested in this community garden; time, energy, money, family(the tree), memories. It's a hard decision to abandon all that or to keep fighting at high emotional cost. With so much invested, and what sounds like not many alternatives, it can feel like you are trapped.

It is so frustrating when you know you are logically in the right and this means nothing to the rest of the group. It's sad the president betrayed you, some people just don't have it in them to speak out against a group like you did. Sometimes all you can do is lose your temper and scream. I've done it. I would wager most of the other members have also, and hope they would be understanding and supportive.

Don't know about your city, but if you are being followed around and feel threatened/unsafe, you can maybe defend yourself with more than a pumpkin. Definitely check your local laws first...I wonder if there is anything in the rules about banning members for harassment?

Reading your post reminded me so much of my experience with my adviser and lab members in grad school. After rewriting this many times, I'm finding I still am not completely over it, six years later, and still not ready to concisely summarize in an unbiased way. Suffice it to say that after much fighting at high emotional cost, I decided to cut my losses and quit. It still seems like it was a waste of time and energy and lost potential, many things I used to enjoy are still soured for me. I wonder if I will ever want to do those things again. I hope your experience with this community garden won't sour gardening in general for you and that you can find a new and accepting, more grateful place to garden.

I think it would be a good decision to prioritize your well being over your investments in this garden. The sooner you avoid the triggers of your depression and ptsd, the sooner you will start to feel better. It may be easier to leave if you make up a little ceremony. just for you, to thank and say good bye to your plots. I did this on my last visit to the lab, and it helped me feel like I hadn't left anything unfinished.

If you want to see your corn through to harvest, not to mention your twenty year old bonsai, wow! I get it. After deciding to quit school, I still had to go everyday for a few weeks. This meant peeking around corners, listening outside the door for who was in the lab, going after hours. It was panic inducing, but I wasn't not going to take care of my animals. It helped to count down to my last visit; "I only have to come here eleven more times"...also it helped to have a line prepared in case I did run in to someone, "I've decided to leave this lab/garden in December, please leave me be to prepare." "I'm recording our conversation" usually puts people on their best behavior.

To keep people off your plants, I would suggest a notice saying you have sprayed something gross that people wouldn't want to touch or go near. Pepper spray, BT, that deer spray that's made of rotten eggs or blood, your own urine, make up a new experimental bacteria derived from roadkill...maybe spray on some food coloring to make it noticeable(test on one leaf first, I've never sprayed food coloring on plants).

Or take the sacred angle and put a notice that you have decided to donate the corn to whatever cause people are most likely to revere: a preschool project, a church's thanksgiving play...then they would be stealing from them and not you.

You deserve a happy, peaceful place to garden!







 
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You are being bullied. Bullies don't like being laughed at. Laugh at them or leave them would be my advice FWITW. I have been bullied several times in my job as a teacher. Once by a pupil and no-one would help. It was so horrible I left the school. Within one month the student was expelled.  So angry. The next by a friend here in Spain. I walked away and I know from others she was incredulous and very upset. The last is by our neighbour, who only comes here once a week but I used to hide in the caravan the whole time feeling sick.Then one day something happened and my teacher instincts came out. I really had a go at him and his elderly mother. To the extent tbat a tractor came up behind me, delivered our hay and left and I never noticed. He now avoids ME. YAY! I felt so empowered. I am now denouncing him for everything I can so he outs right all our shared wall problems, cuts a dangerously overhanging tree and forbidding him access to his plot of land unless he asks very, very nicely. Last one is easy. He is terrified of our dogs and I won't lock them up until I see an attitude I like. (BTW I think menopause is a lot to do with this change of approach....)
 
Lori Ziemba
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Hugo Morvan wrote: nothing you can do, but plant copious amounts of Japanese knotweed in all forgotten corners of their plot while they fly to Australia planning on how to push you further.



HA HA HA HA HA!  Thank you, I needed that laugh!
 
Lori Ziemba
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Catie George wrote:Sending hugs.

Gardens are not, or should not be, places to deal with not-so passive agressive community dynamics. Are there any other gardens nearby, can you get on a waitlist? It sounds like there maybe jealousy at play, and maybe a bid for leadership games that you aren't interested in playing. I got stressed just reading that. I can imagine, based on similar occurrences in places that were formerly favourites, that those experienced have sucked the joy right out of it.



There is another garden nearer to my house.  I wrote to them, and they are looking into whether there are any plots available.  It's pretty small, and the plots are small.  But it seems nice otherwise.  At least I would have a place to put my tree.  

Funny you should mention jealousy.  My bf said the same thing.  That they think I'm getting some kind of special treatment, and that they are jealous because I'm the best gardener in the place.  (Those are his words, not mine, LOL.

Can you skip going to meetings? Can you change your watering schedule to, say, early mornings or late evenings until you find another garden? Could you mulch or add some of those plastic water bottles cut open upside down to decrease how often you are thee?



Definitely going to skip meetings.  NO WAY am I EVER going to another one of those no-holds barred, insane, tag-team matches they call meetings.  My bf said he is going to the next one in Sept., and he's going to give it to them.  I have changed my watering schedule to mornings, and I think I can cut it down to once a week instead of twice, and put a wine bottle on my tree and blueberry.  

As a thought, all of the gardens I know have been run by the municipality or a charity representing the municipality. Gardeners had way less power, and therefore, no meetings, and a very defined power structure. Doesn't sound like your garden president is taking much of a leadership role



The one I applied to is, I think, run by Park & Rec.  Not sure about meetings.  Most of the gardens in the city are run by them.  My current one is the only independent, because it was the first in the city.  I've heard it was originally a Victory Garden.  Being independent has it's good and bad points, for sure.  And you're right about the president.  He badgered the old president, who was a good guy, out of the place.  I remember the first president that was there when I started in 1996.  He would NEVER have allowed those people to act like that.  He ran a tight ship.  

Thank you for writing
 
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Scott Foster wrote:I would move on if that's an option for you.  For me, gardening is spiritual and zen-like.  One of my favorite things to do is a garden experiment that goes against the grain.



Exactly!  Same for me.  I go there, and before I know it, 3-4 hours have passed.  And I also love experimenting.  The corn was an experiment.    

 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Keep a recorder with You at all times.
 
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Tereza Okava wrote:
The sad part is that these groups that are so venomous are on the edge of dysfunction,



Yes.  Why are people so &^$%# horrible?  I can sort of understand it when money/livelihood is involved, but this is a garden!  Nothing ever gets done around there because that miserable couple always shouts any plans down.  The only way to do anything is to just do it.  But then you have to take the flak from them.


I am so sorry that your garden, the place that can do the most for your mental health, has become a stressor. I hope you find a new place, soon, and that you can just skip the meetings. I also am 100% with F Agricola. Just walk away, they're not worth your time.  Maybe after planting whatever invasive weed you can find, spelling out some nasty words.



The worst part of it all is that I joined the garden 23 years ago, when I was really sick and going thru a mental health crisis.  The garden saved me in a lot of ways.  To think that now it is making me ill again is just so...ironic.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:Sunk cost fallacy. At this point you see 23 years of work. That is your sunk cost. You can't see leaving it because of that. In reality, it is time for you to go. You can find happiness at another garden and I suggest you do!



I am looking into it.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

Give your fellow gardeners a choice. Kick out the offending couple or kick you out. I can see positive in both outcomes.



I'm pretty sure they'd throw me out.  It's been the story of my life.  I seem to be one of those people who get picked on a lot, never could figure out why.
 
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Jeremiah Curtis wrote:Oh my goodness...forwarding a little lovingkindness if wanted.

I'm so sorry for the loss of happiness in a much-enjoyed place.
It's okay to be angry and not-at-all-okay about all this.

Please be extra-good to yourself, whatever is happening?
(virtual hug, if wanted)



HUgs and loving kindness are always appreciated :)  I went to the movies today to see Yesterday.  It was very good, and I highly recommend it!
 
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Rufus Laggren wrote:Not everybody enjoys to constantly fight, but some do. If you're not one (I'm not), you need to take other action to stop taking damage all the time.

It's important to _act_ on your problem. The garden, I'm afraid, is not your problem - the destruction of you health and well being _is_. I cannot really know what's going on because I'm not there and, truthfully, your story is only one side. However, I can hear loud and clear that you're being attacked, getting mauled, consistently and continuously and although in special rare situations people can "live with" that for a while, there is a huge cost and I hear nothing that sounds like you can justify continuing like that. Losing your temper, when, as you said, you rarely do, needs to be a red flag for you:  Don't ignore it. Anger is a natural emotion, as good as any other emotion when handled w/in the larger context of one's life. It's a survival emotion. It cuts you free, for a brief span, from  your ruts and habitual behavior. It can be very good for you. Use it's energy, and freedom - don't let it use you - and make changes.



No, I have never been a fighter.  Not in that way.  I don't like conflict.  I'm pretty easy going.  I am actually surprised by the depth of the anger I feel when I go back to water.  It's like I relive the whole thing over, and just get madder.  I am making inquiries into another garden.  Funny you mention change; I did my tarot cards, and I got a whole bunch of "change" cards!




 
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Amy Arnett wrote:It's awful to be punished for helping!



Yes!  My friend Sal has a framed quote on his wall that says "No good deed goes unpunished."



It's an awful feeling when you do something nice for people and they reject it instead of thanking you. It sounds like you are being singled out. You can only fight/laugh-it-off for so long before you explode; totally understandable.



I never expected any thanks, I did what I did because I enjoyed it.  But I also never expected to get crucified for it.  That's what really hurts.



If you want to see your corn through to harvest, not to mention your twenty year old bonsai, wow! I get it. After deciding to quit school, I still had to go everyday for a few weeks.



Barring a full, public apology, (never happen) I am out of there as soon as I can dig up my tree.  My bf says he thinks they will try to throw me out for cursing and throwing a pumpkin.











 
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:You are being bullied. Bullies don't like being laughed at. Laugh at them or leave them would be my advice FWITW. I have been bullied several times in my job as a teacher.



Yes, it's happened to me before, ever since I was a kid.  I seem to be the type that gets bullied a lot, and I never could figure out why.  People are so horrible.  It's why I am pretty much a loner.  

What part of Galicia do you live in?  My grandparents came from Noya.  That was actually their last name.
 
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Keep a recorder with You at all times.



Good idea!
 
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Hang in there Lori, and come here and vent if you have to. We all got your back!!
(and I love, love love the two suggestions to record everything. Keep your phone around cued up, record it all. I suspect you're right, they're jealous, and once they realize you're on to bigger and better things they are going to AMP UP their idiocy. So if you can't make a quick exit, be prepared.)
 
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Tereza Okava wrote:Hang in there Lori, and come here and vent if you have to. We all got your back!!
(and I love, love love the two suggestions to record everything. Keep your phone around cued up, record it all. I suspect you're right, they're jealous, and once they realize you're on to bigger and better things they are going to AMP UP their idiocy. So if you can't make a quick exit, be prepared.)



Thanks, Tereza  
 
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Well, I heard back from the other CG I was looking into.  It costs $50/year, which is OK, BUT, you have to share a plot.  And the plots are small.  I looked at them briefly the other day, and I think they were about 4' x 8'.  Which means I would get 16 sq. ft.  That's half of what I have now.  I'm gonna go back and actually measure today, but I'm pretty good at eyeing things.  I doubt if I'm off by much.

So, I don't know what to do.  $50/year is a bit steep to grow 3 cabbages and 10 onions.  I'm going to the old place today to water, so I'll see how it makes me feel.  This sucks.  I even thought about putting some containers on the roof, but my landlady is a real b!+(#, and if she finds out, I'll be in trouble.  I feel like a landless peasant.
 
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maybe try to work a less formal deal with a landowner, perhaps an elderly land owner, if you can find someone.
go around and look for some unused lawns, niches, and especially a garden area in need of maintenance.  maybe you can find an older former gardener who appreciates gardens but doesnt have the back or knees for it anymore.
maybe you could do a trade for maintaining their lawn and doing some light landscaping for getting an area there, in a much more chill environment.

you could at least try to hit up some folks and see if you could swing a trade...grow some food in their yard for a share of the harvests...or landscaping.
 
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it is small, but on the other hand it is bigger than what you have if you leave, which is zero. And if you have to share, you end up getting into another group of people who may have an in for you on where you could look for more space (or who you could team up with to go bigger, maybe).
I would keep looking, maybe scout around your public library, slow food things, or wherever else our type of people tend to be found. maybe even a craiglist ad for yard caring/sharing? I know someone here (maybe several someones) care for other people's yards and seem to do great with it. It may take a little while as you network, but I'm sure you will find a new place that will be better than before.
 
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Lori Ziemba wrote:Well, I heard back from the other CG I was looking into.  It costs $50/year, which is OK, BUT, you have to share a plot.  And the plots are small.  I looked at them briefly the other day, and I think they were about 4' x 8'.  Which means I would get 16 sq. ft.  That's half of what I have now.  I'm gonna go back and actually measure today, but I'm pretty good at eyeing things.  I doubt if I'm off by much.

So, I don't know what to do.  $50/year is a bit steep to grow 3 cabbages and 10 onions.  I'm going to the old place today to water, so I'll see how it makes me feel.  This sucks.  I even thought about putting some containers on the roof, but my landlady is a real b!+(#, and if she finds out, I'll be in trouble.  I feel like a landless peasant.



I wonder how things would go if you could just hang on to your original one plot and give up the other? Do the minimum to keep just that one.  
Let them have their petty control freak positions and give them nothing, no reaction.  

Do you have to go to the meetings?  Possibly with time new folks will be in charge.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:

I wonder how things would go if you could just hang on to your original one plot and give up the other? Do the minimum to keep just that one.  
Let them have their petty control freak positions and give them nothing, no reaction.  

Do you have to go to the meetings?  Possibly with time new folks will be in charge.




Well, I've already removed all the flowerpots.  I could do what you said, or I could move into the corn plot, and give up my original plot.  That is allowed  by THE RULES.  The corn plot is a bit bigger than my original plot, and I think the soil is better.  

As for meetings, you're supposed to go to 6 a year.  I've already hit 6 for this year.  You can also arrange to do work around the garden in exchange for missing work days.  I've done enough work in that place to absolve me for the next 10 years.  No way am I ever going to another meeting.  

I went to water today.  I didn't feel quite as filled with rage, but it didn't make me feel happy, either.
 
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