006 Shine Springs Farm Shinecast Featuring J3 Organics

006 Shine Springs Farm Shinecast Featuring J3 Organics

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Episode 006 features a detailed update on what’s growing this Fall at Shine Springs Farm and a conversation with John Obert Jr. of J3 Organics LLC, a family-owned composting business in Bessemer, Alabama.


What’s Growing at Shine Springs Farm

Pak choi and golden turnips are looking great. I can start clipping those for greens any day now. Lots of kale on the way. Kohlrabi is slow to get started, but it’s coming. Leeks may have washed or been buried, but a third row of leeks planted September 14 looks more promising. Lots of radishes coming along. Radicchio is small and beautiful—if we have the right mix of cool weather (not super cold) for the next 60 days I should have lots of radicchio.

Lettuces are looking good. Several varieties are up and I’m going to be planted waves of lettuce for as long as I can.

The first row of quinoa planted September 14 is up. I planted a second row of quinoa September 26, along with two varieties of mustard greens and some rutabagas.

The buckwheat perimeter crop is serving its purpose to attract beneficial insects. Hundreds of bees and other beneficials visiting the buckwheat.

Blister beetles in buckwheat trap cropI did find a sizable quantity of blister beetles (busy reproducing). These can be a major problem, based on my research, but so far they’re in the buckwheat. As soon as I can get back there this weekend, I’ll be dispatching those manually (wearing gloves!). I would’ve taken them out last weekend, but I didn’t know what they were.

Thanks to Dr. A, extension specialist and entomologist with Auburn University and ACES, for quick help in identifying the beneficial wasp and the blister beetles. Dr. A heads up the Alabama Vegetable Integrated Pest Management Program.

More photos of what’s growing at Shine Springs Farm are available on our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ShineSpringsFarm


J3 Organics: Soil Composting

J3 Organics, LLC  builds soil through composting horse manure, spent grains from a local brewery and manure from Birmingham Zoo. They started out with a focus on raising worms. A news story about the vermiculture operation caught the attention of two key figures in Birmingham.

Composting windrows at J3 Organics in Bessemer Alabama

One was Edwin Marty, who’s sort of the “founding father” of sustainable urban gardening in Alabama through his work with Jones Valley Urban Farm (now Jones Valley Teaching Farm). Edwin is now at the Hampstead Institute and Hampstead Downtown Farm in Montgomery.

The other was Frank Stitt, one of the leading chefs in America. Frank owns Highlands Bar and Grill and other acclaimed restaurants in Birmingham.

J3 Organics quickly began to expand and now produces a sizable quantity of new soil each month and sells this to home gardeners, commercial growers and landscaping businesses around the Birmingham area.

Last week, Wednesday, September 26, I drove out to their site in Bessemer for my first visit to the J3 Organics composting facility, where they also grow a wide range of summer and fall vegetables for sale.

Thanks Again to Shane Tutmarc

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Nashville recording artist Shane Tutmarc, please check it out. And find out more about Shane, including tour dates, on his website.

Your Feedback

If you’re enjoying the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast, please let me know (and let others know), by leaving a comment below or a review on iTunes. Reviews on iTunes are especially  helpful in spreading the word about the Shinecast to make it easier for new listeners to find us. You can also subscribe via iTunes so you won’t miss a single episode.

Suggestions for future episodes, comments about blister beetles, and your thoughts on this and other episodes are also welcome. Plenty of room for commenting below and I value each and every comment.

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About Sheree

Change Catalyst, Idea Explorer, Dot-Connector, Square Peg