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Welshtown Haven and Hugelkulture? The start of something more....

A brief description of Hugelkulture can be found at The Old Farmers Almanac, where the picture above is explained.

The site UK Permaculture, provides the "Permaculturalist" view and Youtube "How to build a Hugelkulture Bed", is is a short video on the topic.

South Shore Nova scotia was originally formed through Glacial Erosion and Deposition. Different areas have different Soil Types, some Clay, others Sandy. Welshtown Haven is sitting on Silt. Silt makes excellent Loam; however, the trick in the transition is organic matter. When it rains (non summer months) it rains hard. Due to the soil, it filters down into the water table leaving the surface dry. What is missing is a solid layer of organic matter or loam. While an old growth deciduous forest would provide this, the predominant overstory has been coniferous. Over the years South Shore has been logged, harvesting the old growth and allowing the fertile upper layer of loam soil to wash away. So, the soil is good but needs to evolve!

A couple things can be done to transform Silt into Loam and how you go about it is dependent on the area you wish to work with, the time frame one is looking at and how much money one wishes to spend.

Through numerous managerial meetings, a decision was made to attempt a Hugelkulture on our property.

Around the peripheral of our one acre cleared property, a number of refuse piles existed. These piles were predominantly wood. One spot was literally the old "Wood Pile". Another an assortment of planking, from the barn that once stood upon the property, now rotted. Little treasure troves of rotted or rotting wood were located and used for our project.

Last summer (2019, August) a pit was dug and the process of back filling with organic matter began. Due to time constraints, the mound was not finished but a good start made. Over the following months (of rain) we're positive nature has been moving our project for us. This up coming summer, a further attempt to mound the Hugelkulture hill will take place.

With permacutlure projects, one is to work with nature not against it. With this in mind, our expectation is that some growth will have taken hold within that dirt pile throughout the Fall, Winter and Spring. It will be an interesting update this summer. We will attempt to salvage any usable perennial plants that have taken hold; as well as, plant what we can to jump start the end game.

Is Welshtown Haven's Hugelkulture perfect? No, but it is a step in the right direction. Our goal is to have it up and running by spring 2021. While the project looks simple, the effort in moving the materials into place a bit tough when you have a limited work crew, hot dry weather and a tight window of opportunity to get things done. The photo album will be updated later this summer and most likely a blog written about it at the time.

The End Game? This Hugelkulture mound should provide for a range of shrubs and annuals to be grown that will provide berries and other such things to be grown in an almost natural state. Already along the roadside Blueberries are growing. If you look in the lawn one can find brambles (most likely wild blackberry). Beside the lilac Tree, Quince can be found creeping through the grass (I always try to mow around it). Consolidating these plants and adding more should provide for a bountiful forage if the effort is made. The fence posts will be used eventually to host an electric fence and with luck, keep the Deer out. We may not hit a home run with this experiment but through the process we'll have a better idea of how to move the property forward on a larger scale at a later date.


  1. Recent article on the topic giving more description of what these things are.

    What is Hugelkultur? The Ultimate Raised Bed
    Take raised beds to the next level with h├╝gelkultur
    By Robin Sweetser
    January 8, 2021


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