Storm-Cast

The Storm-Cast Family

The Storm-Cast Family

Storm-Cast is a fertilizer and soil amendment produced through the controlled breakdown of stranded seaweeds and companion organisms mixed with shell and sand from wave action (called wrack).

Our general use Storm-cast is bagged in 6 mil reusable/recyclable plastic bags manufactured by Farnell Packaging in Dartmouth, NS. Each bag carries a purchase price money-back warranty. Repeat customers are invited to return bags for refilling at a discounted price.

We also offer a fine-screened, pasteurized version, especially convenient for household plants, container gardening, seed starting and nurturing.

Product Price (CAD) + Tax
Original All-Purpose and Garden Ready
9 kg$14.00
18 kg$19.00
Finely Screened Weed- and Pest-Free for Indoor/Outdoor Use
130g (Heritage Pack)$7.00
330g (Starter)$8.00
1 kg$12.00
4.5 kg$16.00

Currently, we do not accept online orders, however, we are developing a distribution strategy, and please check in frequently.  For the time being, you can purchase Storm-Cast directly by contacting BCR via the Contact Us page or meeting us at a scheduled event.  

Want to pick up your Storm-Cast?  Arrange ahead and receive 10 % off.

Inquire about group purchases- Garden Club, school or community and other bulk purchase opportunities.

The use of marine algae has existed for thousands of years. In Atlantic Canada the collection of wrack has been established by both the native population and European settlers. Seaweeds have been identified as a source of food for populations that inhabited coastal regions worldwide. Agriculturally developed communities in Europe practiced the collection of wrack for fertilization of farmland for many hundreds of years before bringing the tradition to settlements in Atlantic Canada and New England. Oral history indicates the collection of seaweeds for agricultural use was widespread as late as the mid-twentieth century. Post-war industrialization and the widespread availability of manure and mass produced Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) fertilizers severely impacted this tradition. More recent protection of coastal habitat has all-but eliminated collection of wrack for personal agricultural use.

Operating under several permits, Bear Cove Resources collects stranded seaweed in quantity in the late fall and winter. We monitor and control decomposition of the collected marine vegetation, the resulting product is Storm-cast fertilizer and soil amendment. See above for our current prices, and contact us about quantity and garden club discounts. Check out our Where to Buy & Friends of BCR for locations.

Bear Cove Resources is licensed to collect wrack over the fall and winter months, from Oct 1st to April 15th, along a 10 km stretch of the eastern headlands of Liverpool Bay. This high wave energy shoreline is characterized by bare rock, boulder, and cobble storm beaches with a few sandy coves where seaweeds wash ashore after storm events in sufficient quantities to collect for composting. The varieties of seaweeds and the quantity of sand and shell fragments mixed into the wrack material will vary with beach location and with the intensity and wind direction of the contributing storm.

The spring cut-off time avoids collection from interfering with shorebird nesting. Of particular concern is the shy and endangered Piping Plover which is native to this region. Wrack seaweeds, insects associated with their decomposition, and leachate which runs back into the sea, are important food sources to a variety of land and sea plants and animals. Bear Cove Resources removes only a small portion of the wrack from any one beach per storm event.

Wrack is collected using a Kubota farm tractor equipped with a front-end loader with fabricated wrack forks in the bucket, and a tandem-axle dump trailer. This is basically a slightly scaled-up version of the traditional method of pitch-forking the wrack into an ox or horse drawn cart or pickup truck. The Kubota tows the trailer to the collection location, un-hitches, loads the trailer “pitchfork” style and returns to the compost yard where the load of wrack is dumped.

In addition to the BCR rig, Kevin Dowling of Forest Products Plus collects wrack for BCR using a log hauler and crane picker.

The tractor loader, minus the forks, is used to stack 20 or more trailer loads into large windrows. These are covered with tarpaulins to deter leaching, flies, and weeds. Even in February, with air temperatures -20 C, the piles quickly heat up and begin composting. Over a period of months, as ground and wind conditions permit, the piles are uncovered, turned, and covered again. Wrack as gathered has a low carbon-nitrogen ratio (around 20:1) resulting in rapid decomposition but a smelly pile, especially during turning, as a strong ammonia-like odour is released. Nova Scotians residing along the exposed Atlantic coast will be familiar with the spring smell of wrack piles rotting along the shoreline. For this reason the piles are turned only during periods of offshore winds to avoid inconveniencing any neighbours living inland of the compost yard.

Bear Cove Resources is proud that in 24 years of operations no evidence of a negative impact of our activities along the shoreline is observable and we have never had a complaint from our neighbours.

When the collection season ends the bagging season begins with the conversion of the dump trailer into a bagging hopper. The composted wrack is loaded into the trailer and transported to the bagging facility. The compost is tilled, using an electric rototiller, which breaks up clumps and finds larger rocks and flotsam and jetsam. The compost is further visually screened and smaller debris removed as it is manually funneled through a chute into a Storm-cast bag.