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
This spring, Gathering Ground will be working with Jessica Dennis at the Island School to get some early season vegetables sprouting up in the raised beds behind the school. The beds are masterful creations donated by One Small Garden a business operated by Juliann and Ted Gardener. Two of the beds have plastic covers on … Continue reading Raise Beds
Our goal is to grow grapes using low environmental impact management. Success with organic management starts with variety selection, and so, in 2019 we began transitioning our vineyard to a new variety of grape by grafting a variety of grapes called Itasca onto our existing vines. Itasca is highly disease resistant and makes Chardonnay quality … Continue reading Vineyard: Update 2019
Apples are high on the list for backyard gardeners. Gathering Ground is working to identify delicious apples that grow relatively free of disease here on the Island, to assist home growers and help ensure their success. We are trialing a large variety of heritage apples that are known for being tasty and easier to manage … Continue reading How about them Apples?
In the next 3-5 years, we aspire to expand our current summer internship program into RuralYear, a 9-month program on the Island that educates young adults in sustainable agriculture through classroom education and apprenticeships at Gathering Ground as well as local farms and farm-to-table kitchens. We imagine opportunities for participants to acquire hands-on experience in … Continue reading Looking to Grow: RuralYear
Chestnuts are called the Bread Tree as the nuts are similar to grain nutritionally. They can be eaten fresh or milled into a flour. Chestnuts were once a staple throughout much of the eastern United states, both for humans and wildlife, and today, they are a staple in parts of Europe and Asia. Chestnut trees can … Continue reading Why are we planting chestnuts?