One of the big questions when the apples ripen in the fall is how to get our hands on them and get them into the house. After two seasons in the orchard we have now collected an assortment of tools to help with the apple harvest.
A trusty ladder or two is an absolute must with these old heritage trees. Unlike new varieties that are grafted on to much smaller rootstock these old trees can grow up to heights of 30 feet and much of the best fruit is located in the sun right at the very top.
We have two different ladders which you can see above. One obviously is rather small at 6 feet high but the benefits are you can easily carry it around and the red colour means you never forget where you put it last! Not all fruit is located at the very top of the trees either so having a mid-sized ladder helps to access fruit lower down on a tree.
The second ladder is 17 feet when fully extended and has the benefit of a wide base which is very sturdy, and a very narrow top, which fits easily between branches. Although it can be difficult to maneuver into place sometimes the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. This ladder does not tip easily and allows you to squeeze into spots that would otherwise be inaccessible.
|You can clearly see how wide the base is compared to the top|
In cases like that our handiest tool is the apple picker
This very simple tool consists of metal 'fingers' that grab at the fruit pulling it into a cotton bag. By mounting it on a long pole you can increase your fruit picking reach by several feet.
As you can see in the above photo the picker allows me to reach up to almost double my height. By standing on a ladder and using this picker we are able to reach fruit right around the tops of the trees.
Also important when picking apples is having a place to store them while working. Having a bag that you can hang around your neck or across your chest is absolutely necessary, especially if you're high up on a ladder.
We use a variety of old shoulder bags or the green mesh bag in the photo above for this purpose.
And then when the bags are full we end up using every available bin to hold apples for sorting and storing.
|Trugs are one of my favourite garden bins|
|What do you use an old wooden apple box for? Apples of course!|