Wondering if Eric can make suggestions for the cold, long winter zone 2a perennial food garden. I haven't been having much luck figuring this out and so far other than some berry crops am looking at annuals here. Have everything from full sun to full shade.
zone 2 a leaves us wondering a few things, like dry, damp, high altitude, low, alkaline, acid, windy or wind protection..etc.
If you are in a higher altitiude that is dry or windy you must get some wind protection in as wind is death to a garden in a dry or cold area..you can use evergreens, or fences, or piles of soil or rocks or even piles of dead trees, anything to filter the wind..and give you protection, this will increase the growth ability to the east and south of the protection (if you have N and W prevailing winds that is).
also it may help to dig a swale or a pit to plant in to gain water holding and more protection, and maybe used rocks around to hold heat and water..and protect from animals.
there is a lot of good information on some of the threads here on things like growing in cold, desert, mountains..etc..but we need a bit more info
Bloom where you are planted.
Hi Brenda, Im in NE Ontario, neither dry nor especially wet (at least most years). Elevation is about 200m above sea level so pretty low. The main problem is short growing season and long very cold winters. Snow pack can often be 1m+ in tree sheltered forest and 2m+ in windswept area's (had to pull my wife out the 1st year she was up here because she would not listen that she needed snowshoes to walk on the snow). Temperatures of -40 C are not uncommon. We're on the little clay belt boreal forest area of NE Ontario.
I haven't done any of this myself as I live in the banana belt of USDA zone 6. However I did put together a list of perennial vegetables for very cold, short–season areas which is posted at www.perennialvegetables.org and is in the book. Berries and hazels are the other main best candidates. Do you have Bart Hall-Beyer's Ecological Fruit Production in the North? It is the best guide I've seen for climates such as yours, and includes specific varieties of apples and pears for example that are exceptionally hardy and short seasoned.