Byron Hale, manager of Bangor's community garden, surveys damage to the garden on Wednesday after one or more people damaged the garden Tuesday afternoon by cutting or uprooting vegetables and leaving them on the ground. Credit: Sam Schipani / BDN

In another act of vandalism at Bangor community garden, dozens of raised beds at the Essex Street site had plants uprooted or cut sometime early Tuesday evening.

A gardener at the Essex Street site discovered sometime after 5 p.m. on Tuesday that roughly 24 to 30 of the garden’s 203 beds had their plants damaged or pulled out of the soil, according to volunteer property manager Byron Hale. Unripe vegetable leaves were strewn about, while other plants had been snapped off and tossed around.

The garden has suffered similar incidents “for the past six or seven years” since its 2011 founding, Hale said. In one previous instance, someone had shredded the row cover protecting broccoli plants from winter frost with a box cutter.

Volunteer property manager Byron Hale points out vandalized plant and vegetable beds at the Bangor Community Garden on Wednesday. Credit: Lia Russell / BDN

“Either someone has a bone to pick with a particular gardener or gardeners in general,  or it’s a person we confronted in the past and told to stay to the outside perimeter,” he said. A nearby sign states that garden beds are “individually leased and not for public consumption.”

“We’ve always had a woodchuck who eats our produce but this appears to be outright vandalism,” Hale said. “It’s aggravation and assault on us as gardeners that we’ve made a commitment to amend the soil, plant it and nurture the garden, without getting too wishy washy there.”

The perpetrator or perpetrators on Tuesday cut a cabbage plant, which Hale said had grown to the size of a basketball, down to the core and uprooted it, then laid its leaves back in the garden bed where it had been growing.

Another gardener’s onion plants had been uprooted and laid back down in the bed, while others’ broccoli heads and green tomato plants had been cut off or uprooted. Some plants, like garlic and onions, will be able to be replanted, while others were close to being ready to harvest.

Allie Brown, a gardener who had been on the committee board that first started the garden in 2011, said it’s expensive to replace uprooted plants and vegetables. “You can’t find soil or high-end compost for just $20,” she said. Total costs for seeds, water and other supplies can run more than $60.

Volunteer property manager Byron Hale points out vandalized plant and vegetable beds at the Bangor Community Garden on Wednesday. Credit: Lia Russell / BDN

Hale said that other gardeners often donate excess produce to homeless shelters. “If I had planted my beds with, say green beans, with the idea that I was gonna take excess to the homeless shelter, I’d feel let down.”  

He said that the garden’s back gate was left open this week so a summer camp could access the nearby Dakin pool complex. The city parks and recreation department said it has since locked it and urged other gardeners to check their plant beds for vandalism.

“We are assessing the situation and coming up with solution options,” the department said Wednesday.  

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.