An apple picker in use. Tree not included.
Apple harvesting, herb drying and digging tools
John reviews the latest in harvesting equipment, including the innovative 'apple picker' and a handy herb drying rack...
Burgon and Ball have introduced a range of very useful hand tools to help with the harvesting of fruit, vegetables and herbs. If you have just read the article in PM65, ‘Useful Trees in Public Spaces’ and feel inspired to try public fruit picking, or you have fruit trees of your own, you might be interested in a Burgon and Ball Apple Picker. It consists of a metal cage with picking prongs mounted on a long wooden handle. The cage has a foam insert to prevent bruising and the head could easily be refitted to a handle of your choice. It should prove ideal for picking those hard to reach apples, pears and plums, without having to use a ladder.
Next up – the Burgon and Ball Potato Harvesting Scoop. This tool has a slotted stainless steel head on a nice hardwood handle. Apparently it is an adaption of a 19thC traditional potato harvesting shovel but scaled down to make a hand tool for use in small areas. It seems to work well and should be of particular interest to anyone who grows potatoes in raised beds or containers.
Vegetable harvesting knives
I have also tried the Burgon and Ball Vegetable Harvesting Knife which has a cranked, serrated curved blade. The cranked blade allows you to really get underneath the thing you are cutting without forcing your hand down into the ground. It is designed for harvesting cabbages, cauliflowers, marrows and other tough stemmed vegetables. I lent it to a friend who used it for harvesting woody herbs like sage and rosemary. It cut cleanly and the hooked blade naturally gathers the cut material towards you. A really useful little tool.
I was given some of the cut herbs to try with the next product: a Burgon and Ball Herb Drying Rack. This is a dinner plate sized metal hoop, which can be hung from a ceiling hook or a hanging basket bracket. It comes with eight hanging hooks for attaching your herbs and holds much more than would at first appear. I thought this was a bit of a novelty when I got it, but actually it’s rather good.
When you have harvested everything it will be time to prepare your beds for next season and if you grow in raised beds or other confined spaces you may find Chillington’s mini hoes useful. We have been using their full-size products for years with excellent results. They are all made of proper forged steel and should last a lifetime. The new range consists of a set of Three Small Digging Hoes and a Double Headed Hoe. The former consists of three hoe heads of varying depth and width, with one interchangeable handle. The latter is a lightweight double sided tool with a hoe blade on one side and a double tine blade on the other, mounted on a strong wooden handle. Maddy Harland uses these hoes to work over her raised beds and to plant potatoes.
Products reviewed here are available from the Green Shopping Catalogue