Beginning in July, our community compost program will be up and running. Our goal is to recycle the kitchen and yard waste from Island households and businesses, up to the holding capacity of our structure, diverting the waste from being dumped and carted off-island. All while producing black soil to enrich our gardens and orchards.
The last few years have been very trying for many gardeners on Washington Island due to massive numbers of rose chafers. We have been researching methods of organic and biological control at Gathering Ground, methods that go beyond the standard conventional controls, such as the use of carbaryl based pesticides (read more about this group … Continue reading Mass Trapping of Rose Chafers on Washington Island, WI
On a quiet April day, Casey Dahl of Folk Tree Farm on Washington Island shared his pruning knowledge with a couple of neighbors in their old apple orchard. The trees had not been pruned in years and they wanted to learn more about how to care for them. Gathering Ground also attended this pruning workshop … Continue reading How to Prune Old Apple Trees
By Russell Rolffs. This article first appeared in the The Washington Island Observer. Winter evenings are best spent sitting near the stove and dreaming of what to plant in the spring. The same is true for us at Gathering Ground. Our vision is to develop the grounds into an extensive network of orchards and gardens … Continue reading Winter is for planning and reflecting on the land at Gathering Ground
Gathering Ground is excited about building a pavilion that will serve as a site for our educational programs and as an outdoor classroom to augment the Island School’s experiential education. We are grateful to Washington Island Women's Club and the Detroit Harbor Ladies Aid, both of which gave donations earmarked for the pavilion. The pavilion … Continue reading Building a Pavilion
In April, 2020, we will be welcoming six White Dorper hair sheep to Gathering Ground. We couldn’t be more excited. A big part of our motivation is to experiment with using the sheep to keep the weeds in the vineyard and orchards at bay, and to offer their gift of fertilizer to the ground to … Continue reading Baa Baa Baa — Sheep at Gathering Ground!
2019 was an exciting year for the chestnut orchard. We planted 70 additional chestnut trees, bringing the total to 100 trees. It was very promising to see that some of the trees planted in the spring of 2018 grew six feet in one season! A handful of trees are already pushing eight feet in total … Continue reading The Chestnut Orchard
We will begin to accept compost materials at a new three-bin collection site located at Gathering Ground. Stay tuned for more information in the spring. While we need a tractor to adequately manage a compost program of some size, we will keep the bins small for the first year which will allow it to … Continue reading Community Compost
It was a year of challenges in the vineyard. The grapes had a hard time ripening due to the cold spring, and the lack of heat and sunlight made for grapes that were low in sugars and high in acid. Nevertheless, we harvested 500 pounds late October (after all the leaves on the vines had … Continue reading 2019 in the vineyard
DId you know that butternut trees were once one of the most common trees growing in the understory of the forests on Washington Island? The wood is highly prized and the nuts are great for baking and fresh eating. Sadly, most of them were killed by a fungus that causes cankers on the stem … Continue reading The Understory on Butternuts