Hugelkultur. What it is. When is it appropriate. And when isn’t it. with Javan Bernakevitch (PVP082)


Javan Bernakevitch Hugelkast


Key Takeaways:

  • Hugelkultur mounds are usually positioned perpendicular to the wind.
  • Sometimes used as a staging process to dispose of wood and build soil which can then be spread onto crop land.
  • Think of a hugelkultur as a produce aisle raised bed.
  • Make sure the design fits into how you live your life and how you want to live your life.



  • “All of these things are techniques to be used at appropriate times.”
  • “Few people think more than two or three times a year. I’ve made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” George Bernard Shaw
  • “Permaculture is action oriented positivism.”
  • “If it doesn’t fit how you live your life or how you want to live your life you are very quickly shown the limitations of the design.”
  • “Let the bed show you what wants to grow where.”


Hugelkultur Benefits:

  • Soil building structure.
  • Semi-permanent planting bed.
  • It creates microclimates.
  • Lifting the soil surface towards the sun and that adds degree days.

Large Scale Hugelkultur Installation


Darfield Earthship Grocery Store Landscape – Before


Darfield Earthship Grocery Store Landscape – After


Salsbury Victoria Hugelkultur

Averbury Abby Hugelkultur


Holzerhof Three Water Retention Structures


Sepp Holzer – Farming with Nature


Hugelkultur Cross Sections.  Source:



  Hugelkultur Cross Sections.  Source:





Books by Sepp Holzer:


Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture on Amazon


 Sepp Holzer: Desert or Paradise


More information on Javan Bernakevitch:

Permaculture BC

Javan Bernakevitch on YouTube

You can contact Javan via javan at permaculturebc dot com


Javan’s previous podcast on Finding Your Niche: 032: How to fail better. The quest for origination, not emulation.


Gord Hiebert’s design firm that Javan works with – Element Eco-Design



Support Permaculture Voices

You can new support Permaculture Voices through a one time or reoccurring donation. You can make that donation at



Question, Comments, or Feedback?

Let’s here it – info at permaculturevoices dot com, Facebook, or though the contact form HERE.





You can also listen to this episode (and all of the other episodes) through iTunes and other podcast feed readers. Instructions on how to do that here:


Permaculture Voices Thanks You

Thanks for listening and for supporting Permaculture Voices!

Did you get some value out of this post? If so, then please take a second to support Diego on Patreon!

Comments 4

  1. How about thinning seedlings after broadcasting? Should one adhere to the “normal” packet-indicated spacing? Or is there something to hugel (such as the vertical component) that allows for closer plants?

    1. Post

      I am guessing Sepp would say you seed an area, then let nature work. No thinning. The plants compete, the strongest win and the weakest die off.

  2. Hi javan and diego,
    nice show! can the trees not adapt to changing soil height as the mound settles?
    also, just heard you mention me and our hugels – we haven’t done much actually… and i can’t really figure out what to do with my hugel mounds that well… i broadcasted it of course, not it’s becoming early successional which for us isn’t too ideal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *