Are blueberry rakes useful?

ksgrowerApril 28, 2010

Hi,

I am trying to think ahead while my blueberry plants are still small (2 year old). I wonder how to harvest blueberries without hours of labor. What are your experiences with blueberry rakes? Do they do a lot of damages to the plants? Do they also pick up a lot of unripen berries? Thanks in advance.

ksgrower

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jellyman(6/7VA)

Good Lord, KSgrower, how many blueberry plants have you put in that you will need a rake to harvest them? Are you going into commercial production?

Blueberry rakes are very crude tools that do not discriminate between ripe and unripe berries. And you certainly are going to strip some leaves and put a lot of berries on the ground. Even most of the smaller commercial growers use pick-your-own rather than try to harvest in this manner.

I guess it's fine to plan ahead, but I would wait to buy a blueberry rake until I was absolutely overwhelmed by berries. With 2-year plants, you still have a lot of time to think about it.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:00PM
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larry_gene

In years past, the general public has been admonished not to use berry rakes in the local National Forest huckleberry fields (Mt. Hood, Gifford Pinchot).

Hours are well-spent picking any kind of (edible) berry.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:46AM
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brookw_gw

ksgrower, I confess to buying one of those rakes some time ago and don't like it for blueberries. However, it is great for harvesting green gooseberries. Most of my customers want their gooseberries green and sour, and the berry rake really saves your hands from the thorns and expedites picking. You lose some leaves, but there's no significant damage.

Brook

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 1:53PM
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northwoodswis(4)

Thank you for asking that question, because I was wondering the same thing. I only had held off buying one, because they were so expensive. I was thinking more for lingonberries, than blueberries, but had planned to use it for both. Now I won't covet one. I can't plant gooseberries, because we have a lot of white pines that I don't want to get white pine blister rust. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 4:52PM
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djofnelson(7ACtrlVAfoothills)

It was my impression that rakes were only useful for harvesting a large plot of densely spaced lowbush blueberries (and I assume you're growing the taller highbush varieties spaced apart).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:47PM
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ksgrower

Thank you everyone. Now, i won't get a blueberry rake.
We currently have 9 plants of blueberries. We might add 5 more in the future. We also have fruit trees, raspberries and blackberries. I love gardening. It is such a peaceful and rewarding hobby. I can stay in garden all day long. However, my two little kids should come first. I like to take them out for all kinds of activities as well. It is just not enough time in a day.

ksgrower

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:34AM
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larry_gene

Well, 14 blueberry plants could eventually make for a lot of labor. Hand-picking thousands of little berries does require achieving a zen/zombie-like state (perhaps not possible around young children), or requires an obsession with having berries. I think sometimes people lay out sheets and shake the bushes. You get the ripest berries that way.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 11:51PM
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jellyman(6/7VA)

Ksgrower:

Of course your kids should come first. Teach them how to pick blueberries. My grandchildren do it with great pleasure, and have learned to discriminate between berries that are ripe and those that are not so.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 1:00AM
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