Before becoming an intern with my sister Izzy at Gathering Ground, I was an Island regular. Every summer my family would drive up from our Illinois suburb to Washington Island, anticipating the euphoric moment when we would be driving down the curving road, alongside the lake to Gibson’s West Harbor Resort.
by Russell Rolffs, farm manager This year, Gathering Ground grazed six White Dorper sheep, rotating them through the vineyard June to August and then the young chestnut and fruit orchards the rest of the season. Combining livestock with crops is a sustainable practice because it creates a harmonious relationship between two agricultural pursuits wherein the … Continue reading Sheep at Gathering Ground
While these low-sugar grapes are not great for wine, they make excellent jam and jelly! We are welcoming all community members to come harvest grapes for home use. Please maintain social distance from other harvesters and enjoy the grapes!
Much of this was trial and error, sweat and sunburns; all in all, using our 2020 methods helped knock back the Rose Chafers enough so that we can actually have a crop of grapes this year.
Saturday August 1, from 10 am - 2 pm Gathering Ground is happy to present our first garden tour. We've asked 8 Island gardeners to open up their gates to visitors and share a little bit of Island life. Enjoy this socially-distant outdoor activity and get inspired by what people are growing here on the … Continue reading Island Garden Tour
Let's say you live here on the Island, or regularly visit, and don't have your own compost pile. You now have a way to compost your organic matter. "But why is this important? Why should I compost," you might ask. Composting is nature's elegant economy. Nature's economy doesn't produce trash, instead everything old and used … Continue reading Community Composting: Why and How
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