This instructable will show you how to create a very simple fruit picker from generally available household and garden items.
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Step 1: Cheap and Cheerful Fruit Picker
OK OK, I'm not going to set the World alight with this creation. Also as you can probably tell from the standard of taping above, I am not the most dextrous person you have ever come across. But the fact is, it works and it works well. Sometimes in life a simple solution is all it takes. That time of year arrived again, late August to Mid September. A time of year when I usually venture into the garden, attempt to pull apples from my tree that I can reach, and in doing so watch vast clumps of them fall to the floor becoming bruised and unusable in the process. The rest usually stay out of my reach, only to be stared at wistfully, but alas, this quick and easy home made creation has allowed me to pick heaps of apples. The kids and I are now full to the brim of lovely delicious red apple juice, and have made crumbles and pies.
Step 2: Tools Needed
Tools needed are pretty simple:
Garden Stakes or Bamboo Canes
An empty (of course) plastic milk carton
As you can see from the above, their should be little or no effect on your bank balance for this project. I recommend taking a snapshot of your bank balance prior to construction and after. If the post construction balance differs wildly then I suggest performing an in-depth review of the intervening activity.
Step 3: Construction
Tie the Canes Together
For this construction I used 4 garden stakes (or bamboo canes would be fine). Tape two canes together near the top and the bottom. Then repeat this with the other two canes. The next step is to tape the 4 canes together so that your picker is the desired length. My tree is around 17 feet high at the highest point, so adjust accordingly. Apply the tape until you can feel no give, and are confident that it will last a couple of years at least.
Cut the Plastic
Cut a hole in the empty plastic carton, it needs to be wide enough so that pretty much any sized apple can fall in. Cut the hole towards the middle of the carton, leaving a gap of 3-4 inches to the bottom, this gives a nice shape for the apple to fall into when retracting the device. The most important step is to then cut a teardrop shape, as seen in the first picture towards the top of the hole.
Tape the Carton to the Stakes
Pretty much as it sounds, in the UK we have cartons that have a separate hand grip, I applied tape around this section and then to the stake, until it felt nice and firm.
Step 4: Using Your Picker
Using this device is a doddle. Simply lift until you have an apply sitting nicely in the plastic hole. Then pull down so that the stem of the apple is sitting nicely in the teardrop that you cut into the plastic. Twist and pull gently. If the apple is nice and ripe it will fall into the plastic and your stomach will soon be full of heavenly apple delights. If the apple does not come off the tree when you twist, then leave it and move on to another as it may not be ripe.
My kids love to drink apple juice from the juicer, especially if it's frothy. I have attached a picture of one batch of juice, but unfortunately we were unable to resist drinking three quarters of it first.
I hope you enjoyed this creation, which should take no longer than 5-10 mins to put together!