I live in Thunder Bay, which I've always though of as Zone 3, with kindness towards some Zone 4 and the occasional Zone 5 plants. My gardens are a work in progress and I am focusing on continuing to establish my edible perennials because the growing seasons have become ever more unpredictable for tender garden annuals. This year I’m also looking at setting up a food forest.
Some things I already grow successfully:
Egyptian onion, Welsh onion, chives, garlic chives, garlic (treat as biennial).
Sweet Cicely, Sorrel, Good King Henry, tarragon, mother of thyme, mints, stinging nettle
(yum, but lots of competition for as the butterflies love it for their caterpillars too), lovage, angelica (more of a biennial), horseradish, parsley (biennial).
Most artemesias do well, elecampane, costmary, valerian, St Johnswort, so many more.
Daylillies, spiderwort, asparagus, hostas, fiddleheads aka ostrich fern.
Haskaps, blueberries, gooseberries, currants, Gogi berries, possibly lingonberries—waiting to see how they survived this winter, strawberries, alpine strawberries, apples, plums, grapes, raspberries, rhubarb, sea buckthorn, Saskatoon berries.
Perennial for the garden, pollinators, and chickens:
Edible plants, not perennials in my zone, but that self-seed in my garden:
Purslane, summer savory, New Zealand spinach.
Other perennials I'm trying this year:
Hablitzia tamnoides aka Caucasian spinach, oyster plant, sea kale, udo, fuki, Turkish rocket, Aprios Americana, nodding onion, ramps, ramsons, Allium fistulosum (3 more varieties), blue chives, perennial leek cross, camas, Amphicarpa Bracteata aka ground bean, crosnes, prairie turnip, Dioscorea japonica – yam, cinnamon yam, German thyme, watercress, and more.
black walnut from Zone 3 stock, hazelberts, butternuts, hardy dwarf black mulberry, hardy Asian pear Shinseiki, Korean pine ordered from Green Barn Nursery and HardyFruitTrees.ca both out of Quebec.
Lots of wild fruits in the area for foraging:
highbush cranberries, low bush cranberries, chokecherries, rosehips, wild strawberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, and so on.
Please note that fungi foraging in the Thunder Bay area is quite amazing! Includes: morels
, oysters, lions mane, chanterelles, honey
mushrooms, yellow foot Chanterelles, puff balls, lobsters, and on.
And there are so many great foraged greens available too:
I plan to really explore cattails from spring to fall this year, not just the shoots and young stalk ends. We’ve now also have our secret early, mid, and late spring fiddlehead picking areas. There are so many more wild edibles
that we hunt too.
I love the foraging books:
All of Samuel Thayers books for what to harvest and how to cook. As well as Ugly Little Greens by Mia Wasilevich for great cooking ideas. She is why I’m cooking with lambsquarter seeds.
From the Land Website:
Hanks Shaw’s website honest-food.net is the place to go for excellent information if you live off the land.
I’ve learned of and sourced many of my new garden items from here on Permies. Thank you!! It’s so hard to find Canadian sources! I always check Permies, ebay.ca, and Etsy.com/ca. Norton Naturals is Awesome. Aster Lane Edibles seems to be closing shop so get your seeds now! Quebec tree nurseries
seem to have good hardy tree and shrub varieties.
And some books and websites and vids of the authors helping my searching for edible perennials for my area:
Around the World in 80 Plants. His vids are quite awesome for making Wish Lists. Find on Youtube.
Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro: A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles. And also LOVE his: A Global Inventory of Perennial Vegetables available on his website. In this comprehensive document he has, amongst all the other categories, got Extreme Cold and Cold Temperate, which are very helpful for this area.
Glad this thread continues. It’s a good resource for all of us cold zoners.