If you are an independent farmer or you simply love tending allotments and orchards for the fun of it, you already know how vital it is to pick fruit at the right time, so as to avoid it falling from the branches and being spoiled. Of course, not all plants bear fruit at the same time, which is why it is important to know the ripening times of fruit trees and the best methods for harvesting them.
So, let's see how and when to pick fruit, reviewing the most common crops.
How and when are olives harvested? Usually the most suitable period is autumn, specifically between October and December.
On average, when the fruit turns from green to violet on 50–60% of its surface, it is ready for harvesting. That said, harvesting times can vary significantly depending on the type of olive (early or late harvest), what it will be used for and the particular climatic conditions.
There are different olive harvesting techniques. The most common and straightforward one is stripping, or hand-picking. This type of operation is perfect for low plants and is least likely to damage the fruit.
Other techniques are beating, whereby the branches are beaten with poles and the falling fruit collected in suitable nets, and combing, which involves combing the fruit off the branches using special rakes.
Finally, mechanical harvesting is similar to beating, but involves the use of a compressed air shaker, which is essential for saving time.
Once the fruits have been detached from the trees, they need to be transported: for this purpose, we suggest you equip yourself with a transporter such as model TN 3400 K, which can carry up to 350 kg of material thanks to its expandable body.
And when are apples harvested? The answer is between September and October, when most varieties reach the right level of maturation.
When harvesting apples, it’s essential to know the age of the tree so that you can manage the picking process accordingly.
If you are dealing with an old tree, you should remove the outer apples first, then wait around a week before picking those on the innermost branches. If your tree is young, you can pick all the apples off in one session.
To safeguard their longevity, it is advisable to pick apples in the morning, so as to prevent the fruit from absorbing heat.
The pomegranate is a classic autumn fruit. It is usually harvested between September and November. A pomegranate is considered ripe when the entire surface of the peel attains the characteristic colour of the variety to which it belongs.
Another useful method for ascertaining whether the fruit is ready for picking is to examine its consistency: if the seeds are firm to the touch and easily distinguishable, you can start harvesting.
As is the case for cherry picking, pomegranate harvesting does not require particular pruning techniques. The important thing is to ensure clean and tidy cutting to safeguard the health of the branches, which are vulnerable to disease or insect attack if severed incorrectly.
For this purpose, a pair of COMFORT pruning shears may come in handy due to their curved anvil, which keeps the branch still when cutting.
Kiwifruit are mainly harvested in November, but unlike with other fruits, determining their ripeness is by no means straightforward.
The colouration of the skin is not a reliable indicator, since the fruit always looks the same whether it is ripe or not.
The most experienced and well-equipped growers can use a refractometer to calculate the sugar levels present in the pulp. The best alternative is to judge the timing based on experience.
Harvesting kiwis at the right time takes a good eye and, generally, it is essential to leave the fruits on the plant for as long as possible, making sure to pick them before any frost ruins the crop.
To cut the peduncle from the branch simply and effectively, you can use an SRM18R pruning saw.