Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pecan Harvest - Sweeping!!

OK - Norris was right. Harvest time is upon us and everyone is going nuts (pun intended).

So, how do you get those pecan nuts out of those 60 foot tall trees?

Well, thankfully you don't need a 60 foot tall step ladder - and if you thought that was the answer, don't feel bad. We thought the same thing when we first got here.

Harvesting Pecans? First thing to remember is that gravity is your friend. Norris was right about the rain, within a couple of days the nuts started falling to the ground. Now you just need to gather them up. This can be achieved in a few different ways, like the traditional method of walking along and bending down to pick them up. This is the way it was done in Clarence Jordan's time and this is still the preferred method for people who own small orchards.

Now if you are lucky enough to have well over a thousand pecan trees, like we have at Koinonia, then the bending down and picking up can take a massive amount of time. This is where technology enters the scene with a dazzling array of custom harvest machines.

First you have the sweeper, as demonstrated in the photo by Brendan, Koinonia's permaculture supervisor. The sweeper moves along the orchard rows and literally sweeps the nuts, branches, leaves and everything else into neatly organized wind rows. This prepares the way for the harvester to come along and harvest the nuts.

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