If you've been following the controversy involving The Grow Spot garden forum and their use of garden blog feeds you may want to shorten your feed to make your content less desirable to places like this. I'll try to make this simple and short but I have a tendency to ramble and make things more complicated than they should be; if you find that to be the case feel free to say something and I'll edit this post for clarity.
The first option you have is not to publish a feed at all. In the "Settings" tab of your Blogger account click the link that reads "Site Feed". In the drop down menu next to "Allow Blog Feed" make sure "None" is selected and then click the "Save Setting" button at the bottom of the page.
If you would like to shorten your feed, in the same area as above, select "Short" and save the settings. This will allow for 255 characters of your blog to be syndicated and if you don't want people to be able to republish that much of your feed you have one more option.
Make less content available.
Register at FeedBurner and you'll be able to shorten your blog's feed even further and make less of your content available to be scraped via your feed. "Burning" your feed at FeedBurner is very simple and involves typing in your blog's address (ex: http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com) in the box where prompted.
The next step will give you an option between selecting an atom and an rss feed. Select rss and continue through the process. You'll then be given a url for your FeedBurner feed (ex: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MrBrownThumb) that you should remember or write down for the final step. Complete the process by choosing the different options given to you regarding feed stats. It is all free so you can choose "yes" to all of the options even the ones labeled "Pro"- when Google purchased FeedBurner it opened up the "Pro" features to everyone.
Once you're all set up you'll be at a page similar to your Blogger dashboard where you should see your feed's title next to your subscriber count. If the count reads "0" don't worry that will soon change if you have any subscribers especially after the final step. For now click on your feed's title and in the tabs at the top of the page click the "Optimize." Scroll down and on the left hand side near the bottom click "Summary Burner." On the right side a dialog box appears where you can select the length of your feed. I've chosen 33 characters but the length is up to you. In the box provided you can enter a custom message and then choose save.
The final step.
Now go back to your Blogger account and again visit the "Settings" tab and click "Site Feed" and in the box next to the words "Post Feed Redirect URL" type in your feed url (ex: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MrBrownThumb) and again scroll down and choose "Save Settings" at the bottom and you're done. Now your Blogger feed will be redirected through FeedBurner and the length of characters you've chosen (I chose 33) will be what is displayed along with your custom message instead of your whole post. Withing a few hours to a day you can log into FeedBurner and you'll see the statistics for any subscribers you may have.
If you've already burned your feed but never did the "Post Feed Redirect URL" option consider doing it. You should see a jump in your subscriber count as your subscribers reported/recognized by Blogger and Feedburner are joined into one.
I've purposefully left out some options and features available through FeedBurner with the hopes that this will be simple to follow for all of the gardeners I saw commenting on various blogs who wanted to take this step but were unsure of how to do it. If you have questions or need help with some of the other features like chicklets, pinging, feed flair and the free site stats options we can discuss those in the comments section.
I'll do one more post along these lines where I'll give some links and tips on how to fight back when your content (including pictures) has been taken and used by someone without your permission for personal gain. After I write that posts I'll go back to blogging about plants exclusively, hopefully.