North Hardy Garden Plants for North Ontario

I sit here in Northern Ontario, not Sudbury, not Timmins, nor North Bay – those places are nearly a day away. At the northern tip of Lake superior in the Boreal forest planted firmly in Zone 2b (Canada plant hardiness zone). We are only 2b due to the proximity of Lake superior, a few km inland and its 2a or 1b. Plants grow here, some quite nicely, others wouldn’t have the time. With an early September first frost date and a first of June last frost date gives us approximately a 100 day growing season. It has snowed on July first and its been 25 degrees in March – gotta love climate change.

The climate is continental with some relief from Lake Superior. Our winters get down to -30 Celsius and our summers can get into the 40s. Over wintering of most plants is impossible with frost depths two to five feet depending on snow cover.

One advantage we have here are very long days 14-16 hours of bright sunshine give plants a lot of growing time.

Soils are a bit sandy – glacial till where I am but manageable with a little. At least we don’t live in a muskeg.

I’ve successfully grown the following in my garden:

As you can see stuff does grow here and the majority quite well, Squash/pumpkins seem to love the soil and long days here. The plants that have done poorly is usually do to my doing and not the fault of the conditions.*Great success  ** Good success *** Poor but working on it

I utilize a square foot gardening system for maximum production in the smallest area. Some techniques and methods are unique to the climate/short growing season but for the most part plants are not intensively managed.

Gardening Shortcut Links

Square Foot Gardening Section

Square Foot Gardening

Information and resources for square foot gardening here in NW Ontario.

Excel Garden Planner

An excel worksheet I developed to help plan and track my square foot gardening.


North Hardy Plants

Not all plants will grow here, but a lot will.


Garden Planning

North Hardy Plants

Tips and Tricks

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening in raised beds allows for a relatively maintenance free garden. It also provides that extra growing time so essential here in NW Ontario. Square foot gardening is demonstrated throughout the gardening section as it is the way I grow my gardens.

Advantages to Square Foot Gardening

Less water

Less weeds

Heats up faster

Looser soils/less tilling

High productivity, small area

About Garden Planning

Laying out your garden and pre-planning what to plant is best accomplished over the winter months. It gives you escape from the north winds, allows for ordering of seeds and allows you to put some time and effort into laying out your garden.

Since I use the square foot gardening method, I have created a garden planner using Microsoft excel. It allows you layout your garden using the cells in excel, then based on what plants you choose it will calculate planting/harvest times, potential yields, how many seeds you will need and more.

The Garden planner is provided as is, I can and will answer questions on using it and I have made videos on using it. I am hoping to have a full updated version ready for 2019 planning season.

Subscribe Northern GardeningMailing List

Sign up for our email newsletter and receive information, articles and promotions on gardening in Northwest Ontario.

A member of the

Northwest Ontario Outdoors


You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This