Wind Meters

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Perennia's Caitlin Congdon using the wind meter
Here at Perennia we've recently acquired a wind meter that can attach to a phone.  The small fan-like attachment plugs into the headphone jack and works in sync with a free app called Wind Meter established by the company, WeatherFlow.  The wind meter itself costs about $50 (CAD), which is comparable to a similar product from Weatherhawk, although the Weatherhawk version is not yet available for Android.

The wind meter and app will measure wind speed in either kilometers per hour or miles per hour and displays the real time wind speed, gusts, and lulls, and also track the average and report wind direction. Readings can be stored or sent via email and text, or viewed on a map.

Perennia's Research Technician Caitlin Congdon has been using the wind meter when we spray our trials to minimize drift. She has compared the app and phone plugin with our handheld model and has found it to be very accurate. This type of gadget is small enough to be carried in your pocket with your phone, and is an easy way to provide specific on-site information.

There are several portable wind and weather meters on the market at a wide range of price points and levels of detail. Some work through apps, either through an attachment to your phone, or via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth devices generally give more information, such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, etc. and sell for anywhere from $50-$250 (CAD).

This post was written in part by Caitlin Congdon, Perennia's Agriculture Research Technician.

Environmental Stewardship Award Nominations

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program are looking for nominations for our 8th Annual Environmental Stewardship Award. The award showcases the outstanding stewardship efforts of farms and elevates public awareness of sustainable farming practices across the province. The award winner will receive a framed painting of their farm by a local artist as well as a cash prize of $2000. The deadline for receiving applications is midnight on July 8th, 2016.

Do you know of a farm that has adopted new practices or technologies or has undertaken projects to protect soil, water or wildlife habitat? If so, please nominate them!  Award application forms are  available at or by calling 893-2293. If you need any help with the nomination process or have any questions about the award, EFP staff are available for assistance.

As in past years, applications are accepted from individual farms as well as the nominations.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Bremner at 902- 893-2293.

Production Innovation Workshop

Do you have a great new agri-food or seafood product idea burning a hole in your pocket, but you don’t know what to do with it next?   Or maybe you’re still searching to find inspiration and want to learn more about what is possible in the world of value added food products? 

Join Perennia Innovation Centre’s Chief Science Officer Eric Albert and Food Scientist

Emmanuel Anom along with business consultant Gary Morton to learn where to start and what to consider in developing a value-added product.
June 27th in  Bridgewater
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre
135 North Park St, Bridgewater NS  B4V 9B3
lunch provided
Topics to be covered:
  • The hottest topics trending in food around the world
  • A look at the new product development process and the value chain; idea to market launch
  • Mistakes new product developer’s make and how not to make them
  • Case studies of farm businesses developing new products
  • Brainstorming/discussion: what do you need to help move your products, ideas and innovations forward?  What are your biggest challenges and limitations holding you back?

If you would like to attend please RSVP Gail at Perennia at (902) 678-7722, EXT 221 or by June 23rd.  There is no fee but we would like for you to register so we know we have a big enough room and enough food!

Wireworm Managment with Dr. Christine Noronha

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

We were fortunate to have Dr. Christine Noronha from AAFC visit the Kentville Research Station in early May.  She was kind enough to share her presentation on Wireworm Management with us.  Please click on the above link to access the presentation.

Wireworm traps are being set around Nova Scotia to identify what species of click beetle we have here. 

Saturday 1-acre garden workshop

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 18: Saturday garden workshop 2-5pm


You are invited to join David Greenberg and the four new growers at Bethany Garden in Antigonish for an afternoon gardening workshop.  There will be a hands-on instruction session with all of the human scaled tools used in the one acre garden. Topics covered include: The BCS walking tractor and its use, maintenance, and implements; using silage tarps and flame weeding to control weeds with minimum effort; hoop house tips and tricks; and a lot more.
Please meet at the garden by the barn and water tower, at 45 Bay St, Antigonish at 2pm on June 18th. 
To register, email Jen Greenberg. There is no charge for this workshop.

The Market Gardener's Toolkit

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Just Us! Centre for Small Farms, in association with ThinkFARM, Dalhousie University College of Sustainability, Horticulture NS, ACORN, Common Roots Urban Farm, Ecology Action Centre, Slow Food NS and the Canadian Organic Growers are proud to host Jean-Martin Fortier as he joins us in the Atlantic Canadian Premiere screening of the film, “The Market Gardener’s Toolkit”.  Sunday, June 19th at 4-6PM at Ondaatje Hall (6135 University Ave., Halifax NS in the McCain Building).  Jean-Martin will have DVDs for sale. For more information visit

Compost Tea

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Perennia hosted a workshop on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market.  In attendance were some of Perennia’s summer students.  Jonathan Bent, Tamara Dondi, and Jessica MacDonald have written up a brief overview of the morning’s discussion.

Dale Overton, President of Overton Environmental Enterprises Inc. (OEE) situated in Manitoba, held a talk in Wolfville, NS outlining the science behind Eco-Tea. Eco Tea is actively aerated compost tea, infused with an organic blend of humic and fulvic acids, Atlantic kelp extract, complex carbohydrates and enzymes.  Humic acid can be found in compost and acts as a chelating agent, which increases the availability of nutrients to plants and prevents nutrients from leaching.

Eco-Tea is made from four different types of compost. To reduce the number of pathogens, the compost goes through a thermophilic stage where it is heated enough to work against the growth of pathogens.  When making the compost it is essential that air (oxygen) is allowed to move through the pile because anaerobic conditions (no oxygen) favour the development of disease. The compost aims to support the growth of a complex microbial community which will outnumber pathogenic organisms.

A broad definition of compost tea is that it is a liquid extract of compost. In general, compost tea contains nearly 20,000 different species of microorganisms. Similar to when making compost, the goal when brewing compost tea is to produce conditions in which beneficial microbes can grow.
Other things can be added to the tea as well, such as grain meals (food for the microbes), minerals, and bio-stimulants.  Bio-stimulants are not added to the compost until the end to allow enough time for the beneficial organisms to build a complex community. 

If a fungicide is being applied, Dale recommends waiting to spray the tea for 5 to 7 days to limit the detrimental effect of the fungicide on the beneficial microbes in the compost tea.  Sprays should go on either before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm using a field-jet nozzle, with no filters. For transplants, he recommends a 50:50 dilution in water.

For more information about compost tea, please check out this eXtension webinar:

*** Note that compost teas can pose a food safety risk. To minimize the food safety risk, only use compost tea produced under conditions that are not a source of biological (e.g., pathogens), chemical (e.g., heavy metals) or physical (glass) contamination, and with a documented composting procedure.  Compost teas are approved for use under the CanadaGAP Food Safety Program but their use does require that a letter of assurance from the supplier be filed with the CanadaGap records. For additional information refer to Section 4 and Appendix C of your CanadaGap Manual. ***