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.
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
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
Hello Neighbors! We are Gathering Ground — the nonprofit that now manages the former Lyon’s vineyard on Lake View and Airport. We want to say hello and let you know what we are up to. Gathering Ground is an educational nonprofit established in winter 2016 with a focus on celebrating sustainable agriculture. We draw on … Continue reading WHO IS GATHERING GROUND? (ISLAND MAILER)
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