Not sure this will be of much help, but you can probably look around your area at what grows on north slopes. My understanding is that the north slope will be a colder micro climate and sometimes will have less sun, depending on the incline. If it is a gentle slope, it will most likely get almost as much sun as the south facing counterpart, but it will be cooler and will thaw later in the spring. You might just not be able to plant the cold tender plant on that slope, but many plant might just do as well there.
Good afternoon Isabelle,
I live just South of you in New England and I have a North facing, 10 acre homestead. Plant choice is key as we both experience difficult Winters. As you already know, the snow won't disappear until May on a North-facing slope and some plants won't do well. Match your plantings to your region. The entire Maple family grows well in Quebec. There are hardy versions of apple root-stock that weather Winter very well; however apple blooms can suffer with an early frost. Some veggies love that North-facing slope (Swiss Chard, broccoli, etc). And there are some chickens that have specifically been bred to survive the cold as well (I have a small flock of Barred Reds). You should have plenty of Red Raspberry, Black Berry, Choke Berry, Blue Berry, and Cranberry in your area. They grow much like weeds in some environments.
Of course some plants don't do well in such a slope (tomatoes and peppers come immediately to mind). For those plants I STRONGLY recommend building a green house so that your tomatoes turn red and the peppers actually produce fruit. Our green house is a god send year round. You can even plant arugula and Swiss Chard in there for Fall and harvest those greens into early Winter.
I do recommend that you ask around for a 'farm goddess' to help with identifying varieties that grow well in your area and where to buy the proper seeds locally. Down here I stick my head in at Agway, which is local. There are a couple of seed houses located in Maine (http://www.johnnyseeds.com) and Connecticut (http://www.rareseeds.com) that the wife uses regularly.
If you are into forest garden design than first design your canopy layer (big trees and shrubs).
Make a list and yourself a map by scale and some circels and do a design.
Taller plants on the lower part of the slope and smallest on top to the south.
But yes, it all depends on climate and microclimate.
Cold air moves down the slope and makes colder conditions on the bottom of the slope.
Observe summer and winter sunrise and sunset.
Does the whole slope gets sun in summer, how much sun do you get in winter, spring, fall?
I'm now on a peace of land with northern 40-50 degree slope.
Most of slope doesn't get sun the whole day in winter but in summer it's perfect for fruit trees such as apples, pears, plums and relatives, cherries.
All these are here on this farm for 50+years and we didn't know what to do with fruit this year.
They are on standart rootstocks.
If you are on a north slope just pretend that you are a zone colder than your actual zone aka you are now a zone 4 vs the offical zone 5.
When it comes to annual you will have to get early bearing variety e.g 70day to harvest/maturity tomatoes (cherry tomatoes) vs 120day tomatoes (beefsteak).
Plant more shade tolerant species/cultivars e.g artic kiwi vs hardy kiwi.
Here are some shade tolerant plants
Well, actually, when I go walk up the road to the forest, these fields are warmer then the ones in front of the house. You can feel a good temp difference. I guess it is because of the trees that surrounds the fields. The wind is block because of that and it is often a place where it is confortable to be. That is a bit why I asked since it is a North slope but a nicer place than my front fields...I think I will have to sharpen my pen and try to do a nice drawing to show you how things are space around here.
Over there, they are already wild apple trees growing, PImbinas, Saskatton berries, Hawthorn, Hazelnuts (that are doing well because nut trees like north slope by the way..) SO I guess I will start from there...maybe I will keep some fields to add a couple of critters....
Thanks a lot everybody
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