Homemade Blackberry Harvester

Overview

Blackberries can be frustrating to pick when the thorns and brambles catch and scratch you. The fruits, though, are often delicious enough to risk the occasional scratch. When the fruits are in the middle of a large bramble patch, though, you often need something to reach in for you so that you can avoid the prickly brambles. A simple berry picker can be built out of PVC piping to reach these berries.

Length

Choose an ideal length for your berry picker. This can depend on your size: If you are smaller you might not want as long a berry picker as a large person would be able to easily manage. It also can depend on the average size of your blackberry patch: You will need a picker that is at least half as long as the narrowest part of your patch if you want to reach all of the berries. Buy a length of PVC tubing, no more than 4 inches in diameter, that is as long as you decide you will need.

Formation

Trim one end of the pipe at an angle so that there is a definite tip at one side. Use a utility knife or a small jigsaw to saw through the pipe at a 30-degree angle. Rotate the cut pipe so that the longest point is on the top of the pipe. Use the jigsaw to make a 3-inch cut down the pipe straight back from the tip, cutting the tip in half down the length of the pipe. You will end up with two separate sections to your tip, which will look somewhat like an old-fashioned pen tip.

Heat-shaping

Heat the tip of your berry picker over the stove or by using a torch. When the plastic is warm enough to bend, use a pair of pliers to bend each half of the tip back toward the inside of the pipe. Space the halves apart slightly so that the berries can get caught inside the tube and roll back toward you. The two halves of the tip should be spaced apart enough to let the bush branches through, but still capture the berries enough to pull them off the branch.

Use

When the pipe has cooled, you can attach a bag to the round end of the pipe and hook berries with the pronged tip. Berries will roll back down the pipe into your bag without snagging your skin and clothing on the branches' brambles.

Tips

Be careful to ventilate your work area well when you are heating up the pipe so that you don't inhale PVC fumes. Drill two holes on either side of the round end of the tube so that you can loop a length of twine through the picker to directly attach the bag. Or you can just rubber-band the bag onto the picker, but be careful not to overfill the bag or it will fall off.

Keywords: berry harvest, berry-picking, DIY berry picker

About this Author

Cyclist and organic gardener Delia Rollow has been writing since 2010. She has been published in the "Commonwealth LitMag." Rollow has a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from Bard College.