PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City dwellers often turn to community gardens as a way to grow their own fresh produce.  But it doesn’t build a sense of community when your hard word is stolen before you have a chance to enjoy it.

While community garden theft isn’t a widespread problem, it does happen.

“I’m seeing people stealing ripe tomatoes, which makes the gardener really mad,” says Sally McCabe, with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  She says the pilfering of produce is usually an inside job.

“Often people go away on vacation and they forget to tell people that they’re going away, and then the stuff sits there and gets really, really ripe and becomes very much a temptation for other gardeners to take it.”

But there are tricks to avoid having the fruits of your labor stolen off the vine.

“When you’ve got something particularly beautiful, dust it with flour, because it looks like someone has put pesticides on it and no one will pick it,” McCabe advises.

Her best advice, though, is to tend to your garden before someone else does it for you.

Reported by Suzanne Monaghan, KYW Newsradio 1060