Nova Scotiasoils have been significantly shaped by the glaciers. The predominant soils are glacial tills, which cover the bulk of the province. While generally stony and shallow to bedrock there are areas in the province where these till soils are deeper, less stony and better drained. It is these areas that are primarily suited to agriculture. There are also pockets of glaciofluvial deposits which were formed as the glaciers melted. They range in texture from loams to gravels and are often well suited to agricultural production.
In the 10,000 years since the glacial period river (fluvial) deposits and reclaimed salt marsh deposits (dykeland) have also provided soils that are well suited to agricultural production.
The Northumberland Shore which covers the western regions of Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou Counties is characterized by a gently sloping glacial till plain. These soils range in texture from loams to silty clay loams and are well suited to agricultural production. The heavier soils are best suited to forage production, while the lighter soils are well suited to a broad range of agricultural crops.
The Cobequid Highlands in Cumberland and Colchester Counties are characterized by very stony till soils often shallow to bedrock. While generally not considered suitable agricultural soils, this area does have a thriving low bush blueberry industry.
Cobequid Bay region has a narrow band of soils around the shores, as well as in Hants County. This area is represented by deep well drained loamy glacial tills and fertile dykeland soils. The bulk of the soils in this region are well suited to a broad range of agricultural crops.
Central Nova Scotia extends south from Truro in Colchester County, into Halifax County and west through East Hants. This area is characterized by moderately sloping loam to clay loam glacial till soils. As a result of rooting zones and imperfect drainage, much of this area is best suited to forage production, however there are pockets of deeper better drained soils suited to a broad range of crops. There are also pockets of fluvial soils along the rivers in the area well suited to a wide range of crops.
West Hants around the Town of Windsor is characterized by a combination of deep well drained glacial tills and fertile dykeland soils, which are well suited to a broad range of agricultural crops.
TheAnnapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia contains by far the best soils in the province and also offers a significant area of fertilized dykeland soils. This region is characterized by deep glaciofluvial deposits ranging in texture from sands to silty clay loams. The valley is well suited to a broad range of agricultural crops.
South Western Nova Scotia is made up of the Counties of Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne. With the exception of a pocket of deep loamy glacial till soils in the Digby Bear River Area, which are suited to a broad range of crops, the stoniness and imperfect drainage in the area tend to limit crop production. Most soils here are well suited only to forage production. In spite of this market, gardeners in all three counties have found pockets of soils which produce a broad range of agricultural crops.
The Southern Shore consisting of the Counties of Queens and Lunenburg is characterized by a series of drumlin fields. On these drumlins, most of the agricultural production takes place. While best suited to forages, there are isolated pockets suitable for multi crop production.
The eastern end of pictou County, Antigonish and Guysborough Counties has soils, which consist generally of glacial tills best suited to forage production. There are isolated pockets of deeper better drained glacial tills well suited to multicrop production, as well as small areas of fluvial deposits well suited to multicrop production.
Soils in the Cape Breton region consist generally of glacial tills best suited to forage production. There are isolated pockets of deeper better drained glacial tills, which are well suited to multicrop production, as well as small areas of fluvial deposits well suited to multicrop production.