How to Make Your Own Fruit Picker
There's more truth to the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" than you might think. A medium-sized apple (Malus domestica) provides iron, potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, carbohydrates and 4 grams of dietary fiber -- not bad for just 81 calories. Depending on the variety, apples are hardy growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Picking your own tree fruits ensures you get the freshest fruit available, but picking it yourself can be frustrating when that luscious fruit is just out of your reach. A handy homemade fruit picker can help you snag that prize and maintain your sanity and is useful on many tall fruit-producing trees.
Place the threaded end of the U-bolt vertically against the broom handle, approximately 2 inches from one end. Mark the contact points with the permanent marker.
Drill a hole through the broom at each of the marks, going through the thickest part of the handle. Make sure the holes are parallel to each other.
Bend the wire into concentric circles to form a basket. The circle on the bottom of the basket should be around 1 inch in diameter, with each succeeding circle around 1/2 inch larger. Leave around 1/2 inch between each spiral. Continue the process until the basket is approximately 6 inches deep and the top circle is around 6 inches in diameter. Bend the terminal end of the wire at the top circle into a "V" shaped formation, which extends approximately 2 inches into the center of the circle.
Insert the U-bolt over the top two wires of the basket, then through the holes in the broom handle, with the top of the basket facing the top of the handle. Attach the nuts to both ends of the U-bolt and tighten securely with the wrench.
Fold the cotton cloth and push it down into the bottom of the basket. This provides a cushion to reduce bruising the fruit as it is picked.
Raise your homemade fruit picker to reach ripe fruit that is out of your reach. Position the basket under the fruit, then maneuver the stem between the fruit and the limb into the "V" device. Pull gently down until the fruit falls into the basket.
Bees, wasps and other stinging insects may be attracted to the fruit you are trying to pick. Always take precautions to avoid stings, and come prepared with an appropriate antihistamine, particularly if you are allergic to such stings. Wear gloves when bending the basket to protect your hands.
- Broom handle
- U-bolt with nuts
- Permanent marker
- Drill with bit
- Stiff wire, approximately 5 feet. 12-gauge or 10-gauge should work
- Cotton cloth, approximately 1 foot square