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.
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
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
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
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
This article first appeared in the Washington Island Observer. By Sheridan Ash, Gathering Ground intern. 2019 marks the second year that Gathering Ground is tending the vineyard on the Island. Because the organization’s mission is to educate youth and adults in sustainable agriculture and to strengthen the health of the environment and community, Gathering Ground … Continue reading Gathering Ground looking at solutions to destructive beetles
First published in the Observer By Russell Rolffs, Gathering Ground executive director Recently I saw a sign at the entrance of a garden that read: “If nothing is eating your plants, your garden is not part of the ecosystem.” The message to gardeners, I think, is to be proud when your plants are preyed upon … Continue reading Planning Ahead for the Rose Chafer