10 best harvesting tools

Get the most out of your autumnal allotment produce with a reliable, well-designed accessory 

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The Independent Online

Goodbye summer, hello season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. A time of plenty for the vegetable gardener and hedgerow forager, a time to stride outside to collect, transport and gather plump fruits and bloated veg. Or salvage what’s left from your neglected allotment. Whichever fits.

Here are ten fine harvesting accessories to help you reap what you’ve sown this autumn.

1. Wolf Garden Handle and Fruit Picker: £42.59, Wolf Garten

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Ensure the safe recovery of lofty fruits with this extendable apple picker. The lightweight, lengthy pole extends to 4m, long enough to access the upper branches of a decent-sized apple tree. The plastic prongs of the basket make a fine job of grasping and plucking the fruits, and there’s a sharp blade built into the rim for slicing through the stalks of stubborn fruit. For less precise apple harvesting, you can swap out the basket attachment for a branch hook and give any apple laden branches a good shake. 

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2. Gorilla Tub: from £1 to £14.99, Faulks

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This is an essential, flexible friend to call on for harvesting duties and other garden tasks. The handles can be a weak point on plastic trugs such as this, but after a season’s worth of hard labour, those of our Gorilla trug are showing no signs of fatigue. Available in yellow or black, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Gorilliant.

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3. Fallen Fruits Garden Tool Bag: £8.99, Selections

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Transport tools and gather garden produce with this handy carry bag. Made from durable canvas, its plentiful pouches will hold your tools and implements safely and securely, while the central, plant pot-sized pocket is large enough for transporting handfuls of berries. Or a few onions. Or one large squash. 

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4. Jonas Swedish Berry Picker: £10.50, Ray Mears Bushcraft

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For the rapid plundering of fruit and berries, you’ll want to grab one of these. Comb it gently through your chosen fruit bush, and the rounded wire comb inside the scoop will pluck and collect your bounty. It makes short work of blackberry bushes, and is particularly useful for those wishing to make sloe gin this autumn – gathering the fruits from the spiky blackthorn can make finger-picking a painful experience.

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5. Primrose Beech Apple Storing Rack: £199.99, Primrose 

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Apples stored in boxes and sacks will soon rot – a traditional apple rack keeps your fruit snug in slatted draws, aiding air circulation to stave off spoilage. This rack isn’t the cheapest on the market, but is built to last, made from sturdy beech wood. It also comes fully assembled so you won’t need to deploy DIY skills to get it up and running before your apples take residence.

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6. Agriframes Composting Sack: £4.79 for 3 sacks, Agriframes

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Harvest is not just about tasty edibles – gather fallen leaves and you can create nutritious leaf mould to feed your vegetable patch or allotment. Stuff your windfalls into these biodegradable jute sacks, stash them in the corner of your plot and let nature do its thing. The loose mesh of these sacks aids aeration and lets in moisture which speeds up the breakdown process. Leave them alone for two years for leaf mould of the finest quality.

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7. Roo Harvesting Apron: £34.99, Productz

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This protective gardening garment doubles as a capacious collecting pouch to store and carry your harvest. The waist level pocket is secured by side cords that – when released – allow the contents of the pouch to tumble into your desired receptacle, be it bucket, wheelbarrow or kitchen sink. The Roo apron sits comfortably round the neck and waist, and can be thrown into the washing machine when grubby. Available in a variety of colours, and one size fits all.

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8. Onion Preserving Bag: £3.75, Lakeland 

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Prevent the premature sprouting of precious onions by storing them in one of these breathable blackout bags. A drawstring tie secures the top, preventing your onions rolling for freedom, while the side zip pocket provides swift access should you need it. These bags come attractively embroidered with the word “onion”, leaving you in no doubt as to what lies within. There are other bags in the range designed for different vegetables.

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9. Harvesting Bag: £22.50, Vigo Presses

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This is a handy bag for gathering weighty harvests such as apples, pears and spuds. You can hoist it over your shoulder when clambering up ladders and trees and the padded handles ensure comfy transportation when carrying a fully loaded bag. It’s constructed from rubber mesh, so filthy fruits and mucky veg can be hosed down before releasing the contents onto your kitchen surfaces.

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10. Heathfield Wicker Trug Basket: £23, The Basket Company

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The kind of basket you see stuffed with kittens on kitsch greetings cards, this traditionally-made trug is the perfect receptacle for lugging around all kinds of garden produce. It’s constructed from tightly woven wicker, making it lightweight, strong, and well-balanced. It’s also lined with hessian to ensure your fruit and veg are given a soft ride so they arrive at the kitchen table blemish free and ready for the pot.

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Verdict

If you’ve got apples to pick, reach for the Wolf Garten – it’s a super-handy tool to have at hand. Couple it with one of the quick-change attachments and, depending on your preferred harvesting method, you can pluck or shake your trees into submission. You can even attach a pruning saw to threaten your tree should it fail to provide a satisfactory harvest this autumn.

Richard Hood is one half of the Two Thirsty Gardeners. Their book, Brew it Yourself, is out now.

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