What can I reuse or recycle to make a foraging/harvesting bag?

Nearly every time we go out for a walk at the moment, we seem to find a new set of berries aching to be picked. And every time that happens, we kick ourselves for not having a bag with us.

After our discussion about making one earlier in the year, I have a trug-ish basket for gentle, slow foraging but I like the idea of a dedicated small fruit/berry harvesting bag – something that either hangs from my shoulder (possibly across my body for extra stability) to leave both hands free for collecting.

I could just use a long handled shopping bag but after seeing a post about purpose-bought harvesting bags at The Cottage Smallholder, I wondered about making one with a bit more structure than my floppy shoppers – I imagine it would protect the berries/fruit from accidentally squishing and hold the bag open so it’s easy to drop fruit in it with both hands full. (The more structured bag could be used as a general shopping bag too during the rest of the year so it’s not just a one-off use.)

So any suggestions/ideas/thoughts on how to make one?

The shape of the Cottage Smallholder’s one reminds me of a small pop-up laundry basket – a reuse for a (clean) old one of those maybe?

After posting my The Really Good Life post about fishing for fruit with a child’s fishing net, I read about someone making a similar net with an old wire coathanger and the gusset of some old tights — I wonder if another gusset could be used to make a basket – the fabric would be light, quick-drying and smooth on the fruit.

Another idea might be to crochet it – crocheting “net” shopping bags is easy-peasy but I’d have to make sure the holes didn’t stretch so much that the fruit would escape. I’d also have to add the structure to it – any suggestions for doing that? An old record might make a fun base plate but what about something to hold it open at the top?

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5 Responses to “What can I reuse or recycle to make a foraging/harvesting bag?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    The net bag onions come in would be perfect material for a harvesting bag. You could use an old embroidery hoop for the neck.

  2. Melinda says:

    – I use a 1-quart yogurt container with 2 holes opposite each other near the top, and a shoelace or cord knotted and strung through so it can go around my neck and leave my hands free. The cover can go back on to protect the pickings. It is sturdy enough to protect fragile berries, but not collapsible.

    – I looked at the picture of the collapsible picking basket, and I think one could be sewn using the plastic ring from the cover of an ice cream tub to hold the top in shape. An onion bag or plastic-fabric feed bag or part of an old tarp could form the body. I haven’t tried it, but it seems do-able. Good way to use those ice cream rings, too.

  3. SandyM says:

    For the past 20 years, our family has used gallon milk containers to collect berries. My grandfather first started this by widening the neck w/a knife, so he could drop them in by the handful. Then, he secured a rope around the handle and then tied it comfortably around his waist.

  4. ElleC says:

    I realize this may be a year too late and you may already have figured it out, but in case you haven’t, try a wooden embroidery hoop, I would imagine it would be very effective.

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