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Hardiness Zone 2 Food Forests

 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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So in my research I've come across a great number of plants that do [or might, given some seed selection] 'work' for hardiness zone 2 as part of a food forest [or a garden used as phase one of establishing a food forest. The below is copy/pasted from a notepad file including potential genetic material resources.

If any of you in this zone have any experience to share [or anyone else has any other research results to share] that would be amazing. Zone 1 sort of seems like no-man's land, but zone 2 seems feasible for supporting humans without immense importation.

In full disclosure, I'm vaguely interested in inexpensive land in the alaskan interior/canadian plains, that's primarily what this list is for [though I could possibly see some microclimates on the north side of a particularly cold part of the lower 48 possibly falling into zone 2 [such as the north side of a mountain in northern montana or something.]


Possible material resources:
http://hardyfruittrees.ca
http://www.nuttrees.com/



Nitrogen Fixers

[Fruit] Russian olive

Siberian Pea Shrub [Beans (becomes inedible to humans without grinding as the seed matures, but great for poultry)]

Alder [Select Species]

Sea Buckthorn? [Perhaps try seedlings]

Annual Beans/Peas/Things as a covercrop during establishment or- particularly short season varieties- as a garden crop


Fruiting Trees

Saskatoon

Hackberry

Apple [Select Varieties]

Plum [Select Varieties]

Cherry [Select Varieties, 'Romance Series']

Nanking Cherry [get hardy seedlings and expect some losses]

Highbush Cranberry [Viburnum Trilobum]


Nuts: (some may require genetics selected to the particularly cold/short season conditions.)

Korean Pine

Siberian Stone Pine

Beaked Hazel

Heartnut?




Fruiting Shrubs or Groundcovers

Lingonberry

Strawberry [Alpine?]

Gooseberry [Captivator]

Red Currant [Red Lake]

Black Currant [Crandal]

Raspberry [Boyne Red]

Haskap/Honeyberry

Elderberry





Fruiting Vine?

Arctic Kiwi (Arguta Kolomikta) - grow by seed, expect failures.
Grape? [This page provides a large number of grapes hardy to zone 3. It stands to reason seeds collected from these could be selected down to zone 2.]

This paper claims the Valiant grape is viable in Hardiness Zone 2




Perennial Vegetables!

Linden Tree [Leaves]
Asparagus [Shoots]
Rhubarb [Stalks]
Watercress [All]
Day Lillies [Flowers, buds, seed pods, and roots]
Hops [shoots, buds for beer]
 
Mike Haych
Posts: 230
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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See Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association.

Growing Tree and Bush Fruits in Alaska from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service lists specific cultivars for apples, cherries, pears, plums. etc.  Some are zone 3 but might be doable with protection.

 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 108
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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I don't live in zone 2, but you can check out TreeTime.ca to see if you can lengthen your list.  Their species are hardy and you can put zone 2 in the search bar, which will make quick work of your search.
 
Etienne Tardif
Posts: 7
Location: Annie Lake Rd, Yukon
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We are in Zone 1A in the Yukon.... Lots of choices to choose from the bigger challenge here is more the dry summers (~6 inches of rain) and poor soils. Mulches do keep the moisture in but also prevent the soil from reaching warm temps and the de-composition rates are extremely slow.

http://www.klondikevalley.com/Klondike_Valley_Nursery/Yukon_Apples.html (Dawson City area)

We are in the early phase of soil building and choosing our plants. We get most of our trees and shrubs from http://www.ttseeds.com/PHP/home.php and focus on Zone 3 and lower.


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Regan Dixon
Posts: 108
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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Etienne Tardif, I am curious to know if you personally are able to manage any shrubs or perennials or trees, beyond native species. 
I envy your garden, just bursting with really healthy-looking plants!  I'm also in the soil building stage.  I wonder, would mulching with something dark coloured be helpful to get heat down into your soil?
 
Etienne Tardif
Posts: 7
Location: Annie Lake Rd, Yukon
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Regan,

So far we have had most of our Nanking Cherry trees survive, our root stock apple trees (grown from seed), Elder berries, haskaps (no problem here), Saskatoons, Caragana. Last summer we planted Seabuckthorns, Russian Olives, a couple more Elder Berries, Aronias and asparagus to name a few. Our ground cover/misc flowers consists of white clover, comfrey, alfalfa, phacelia (comes back from seed), malba, borage (comes back from seed), horseradish, german chamomile, rhubarb, sainfoin, mustard (annual), raspberries, strawberries, misc Alaskan seed packs... I have honey bees so I am trying to develop some perennial flower (drought hardy) gardens and get our power line and meadows more "flowered". I even have to work to get dandelions to catch. We initially had no lambs quarter or chickweed... We now have plenty of both though not yet a hindrance.

We don't have much to show yet for food but our haskaps and Saskatoons have finally started producing. Our annual garden produces well but due to our sandy soil requires a lot of water to keep going. This summer's project is to setup rain harvesting, some grey water recovery and more ground cover... I will probably add silt/clay to our soil.

The bush here is full of ligonberries, soapberries, bear berries, crow berries and wild mushrooms so we don't need to focus on these.
 
Etienne Tardif
Posts: 7
Location: Annie Lake Rd, Yukon
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Regan,

On the mulch we use 2 year old horse manure and top dress with compost in the fall. Black Plastic mulch I hear works well up here if you already have good soil but we focused on using ground covers (clover) to protect the soil and using row covers which helps keep moisture and also protects against pests and protects from frost... We also have raised beds for some vegs though my partner plants a wide mix in each bed...

We also have had chicken for the last 3 years so we now have a good source of old straw (winter bedding) and chicken yard soil that we have started adding to certain areas.
 
Etienne Tardif
Posts: 7
Location: Annie Lake Rd, Yukon
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Here is a plant list that our friends have been having some success with just down the road from our place in their Food Forest.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56afc7218259b53bd8383cb8/t/57586d3460b5e9b281a41503/1465412952290/10.+Agnes+Seitz-Plant+List+Slides.pdf
Filename: Mt-Lorne-YT-Plant-List-Slides.pdf
File size: 3 megabytes
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 108
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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Etienne, I looked at your friends' plant list, which is strikingly similar to mine.  I'm thinking even more that my issues are related to soil and not to climate.  As well as to non-human herbivores.  Thank you for posting that.
 
Koren Vangool
Posts: 15
Location: Saskatoon Canada, zone 2b
bee greening the desert trees
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Wow Etienne, that is a great list!  Pretty much everything we can grow here on the Canadian prairies in Zone 2.   Also remember you can go to zone 3 and 4 if you do lots of micro climates, especially with things that winter underground (like herbaceous perennials) under mulch and other ground covers.  And don't forget the insulating power of snow!   The hardiest grape around here is called Valiant.  Also check out the dwarf sour cherries developed at the University of Saskatchewan.  They are awesome.  Also Mandchurian Walnut and don't forget COPIOUS amounts of comfrey!
 
Agnes Seitz
Posts: 2
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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hello Etienne
and co

and here is the neighbor from down the road .. funny way to meet..

we did put together the mentioned  list a few years ago ..when we started out
since then we have tried a wide variety of trees and bushes and learned a few things along the way.

Yukon - Southern Lakes as mentioned would be zone 1A Canadian , mostly Zone 2 US and 3 is already a microclimate here..

while we had success in the sense that the plants survive winter - we got a few more challenges here
soil as mentioned- we have very young soils, maybe 1 inch ( we did start with actual bush land , never cultivated )
semi arid to arid-  low rain and no close water source
short growing season- most years we get frost in every summer month, average growing season 60-70 days

Along the way we have developed our own strategies to be able to grow  food - with low outside input and high biodiversity in Northern climate.
We grow and preserve all the veggies we need year round, have started a food forest research plot - to see what we can grow perennial wise and
plants that provide more calories. We currently have about 200 different plants in the annual garden and around 80 in food forest.

we have started our own little nursery- growing trees and bushes from seed - as well as strengthening bare root plants we buy- for a couple years before we plant them..
we have about 250  little ones  heeled in for next year- another experiment
and we are experimenting with biomass belt ideas - for fertilizing and soil building

anyone has  tried this in real cold climate ?

as well I am still looking for a source for Manchurian walnut seedlings ( that would also ship to Canada..)

any ideas  
or questions anyone..
Agnes

 
Rene Poulin
Posts: 4
Location: Peace River Region, British Columbia, Canada
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I am in northeastern BC Peace River region zone 2b.  Live on an acreage in th e Rocky Mountain foothills, clay soil, forest land dominated by poplar.
Planted conifers like white spruce, lodge pole pine, Siberian larch, Scots Pine etc.  Have some paper birch, lots of willow and alder.  Planted Caragana, green ash, Box elder, Burr Oak, and mugo pine.  Fruits include 6 types of apples, 7 varieties of  cherries, Raspberries, Saskatoons, strawberries, honey berries, grapes, black currant, gooseberry. 

This year I have ordered pears, plums, cherry plums and rootstocks to start a backyard hardy fruit nursery.  Vegetable wise I have excellent asparagus beds that are very productive, for six weeks first thing every spring.  Potatoes garlic and onions are excellent here as well as carrots, parsnip, oyster plant.  I sell surplus veggies at our local farmers market.  I grow corn only for myself as it is marginal, but tomatoes, pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini do pretty good.

This year I have a chicken tractor built for a handful of hens.  Some eggs would be nice but I want them to kill grass, weeds and bugs more than anything.  Like others have mentioned cold is a problem but dry conditions once it warms up are worse.  Live in a rain shadow with only a few inches of rain in growing season.  I have a well that cannot irritate as much as I would like, ponds that dry up, rain water storage tanks.

The best thing I have to combat drought is wood chips from deciduous trees.  The electric utility arborist contractor delivered several large truckloads to me a couple years ago and the transformation to my soil and trees and shrubs has exceeded my expectations.  I went out and bought a new chipper for myself, I was so impressed by how the moisture stays in the ground and the soil is improved.

Hope the OP makes the move to zone 2.  If you can find a way to make a living,  the climate is something you can adapt permaculture to with much success!  I currently bring in enough income from my garden produce to pay for the other food I buy.  I am satisfied with that because I have other income and most people I know have not even made it that far.
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 122
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Does any of your Elderberry bear fruit? I recently heard that non up here bear fruit (mine is too small to tell I think, it only flowers a bit last year).
 
Rene Poulin
Posts: 4
Location: Peace River Region, British Columbia, Canada
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Simone Gar wrote:Does any of your Elderberry bear fruit? I recently heard that non up here bear fruit (mine is too small to tell I think, it only flowers a bit last year).


Not sure if you mean my box elder which is the other name for Manitoba maple sorry for the confusion.
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 122
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Rene Poulin wrote:
Simone Gar wrote:Does any of your Elderberry bear fruit? I recently heard that non up here bear fruit (mine is too small to tell I think, it only flowers a bit last year).


Not sure if you mean my box elder which is the other name for Manitoba maple sorry for the confusion.


Sorry talking about sambucus nigra
 
Koren Vangool
Posts: 15
Location: Saskatoon Canada, zone 2b
bee greening the desert trees
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Agnes
I can get Mandchurian Walnuts for you in the fall...you'll have to PM me to remind me though!  Mid Sept is a good time.  I don't have a producing tree myself but know of one in Saskatoon.  Thanks!
 
Elijah Kim
Posts: 33
Location: Petawawa, ON, Canada Zone 3A
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bee chicken dog food preservation fungi solar
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Would you have access to enough nuts to send a few my way as well? I may have some veggie seeds or something that I could swap with you, or if it's easier/preferred I could also send a cash transfer.  I am only at the very start of experimenting with planting different nut/fruit varieties on our property near Rainy River, we are trying to get a variety of hardiness levels for zones 2-4 with the hope of setting up another trial site further north in the future.

The sites that I have been looking at/using are:

http://www.grimonut.com/
http://www.nuttrees.com/ - might be a stretch as they are in the Niagra region
https://www.greenbarnnursery.ca/
www.hardyfruittrees.ca/
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/resource/trnursry.htm - your province may have a similar list to this

I've only ordered from the Hardy fruit tree nursery so far, I have put in another order with them as well for the spring.  All of the plants they sent took to the planting and will hopefully still be alive when we get back to our property in July.
 
Koren Vangool
Posts: 15
Location: Saskatoon Canada, zone 2b
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You bet!  Please remind me in Sept!  All those places look good, let them know know you're looking for extra hardy stuff and they can usually accomodate.  Good luck, sounds like a great project!
 
Matthew Lewis
Posts: 42
Location: Canada
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forest garden fungi tiny house
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I'm a bit late to the discussion but hopefully I can add a bit of value. I just made a video on hardy fruit and nut tree nurseries and there was another thread on permies that I remember reading that I thought it would be a nice addition to. I couldn't find that thread but I still wanted to share the video and this is a great topic.

I just purchased some land about an hour west of Edmonton and have also been doing plenty of research on fruit and nut trees. We will be in a zone 3-4 depending on the hardiness zone map you look at and I am eager to see what we can get to grow. It is really only a matter of enough people working with these plants to select for cold hardiness.



Most of the sources in the video I think have been listed in this thread already except:

http://www.saskatoonfarm.com/

There were a few others I came across since then (mostly around Edmonton):

http://www.creeksidehomeandgarden.ca/ (haven't had a chance to look at their entire selection but I did see a zone 3 black walnut and a 2b Butternut)
http://sherwoods-forests.com/ (A couple of people have told me they like this nursery)
http://www.cheyennetree.ca/ ( Also haven't looked over everything but a zone 3 Honeycrisp apple tree caught my eye)
 
Tom DeCoste
Posts: 61
Location: Seboeis Plantation, ME
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Yellowhorn is a possibility. jiovi.com has a lot of choices- not all zone 2 however. 
https://jiovi.com/collections/plants-for-permaculture-gardens-all/products/yellowhorn-xanthoceras-sorbifolium-plants
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Seaberry seedling (jiovi seed)
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Yellowhorn seedling (jiovi seed)
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Goji Berry seedling( jiovi seed)
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 122
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Matthew Lewis wrote:
I just purchased some land about an hour west of Edmonton


Go Oilers
 
Matthew Lewis
Posts: 42
Location: Canada
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Koren Vangool wrote:Agnes
I can get Mandchurian Walnuts for you in the fall...you'll have to PM me to remind me though!  Mid Sept is a good time.  I don't have a producing tree myself but know of one in Saskatoon.  Thanks!


I am also very keen to get my hands on some Manchurian Walnut seeds. Would also be willing to trade some seeds or other plant material I can get my hands on.

Simone Gar wrote:
Matthew Lewis wrote:
I just purchased some land about an hour west of Edmonton


Go Oilers


They seem to be going pretty good this year. Unless something goes horribly wrong there will be some play offs to watch this year 😁
 
Agnes Seitz
Posts: 2
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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update Needle Mountain Food forest - zone 2 experiment  
thanks Koren for the offer on Manchurian walnut- Ill definitely get back to you come September.
We are having quite a winter here- definitely zone 2- we did get the -40 this year.but worse is that we go up and down so often- temp changes between -35 and + 2 in a week..and then again..and again.It will be quite interesting to see which of our trees and perennials will come back..for now we are still buried in snow- with another 2 months at least.
We do have about 40 small bags in the rootcellar..seeds in cold stratification- all new or at least most new ones to try..from stone pine, to swiss pine, hazelnuts to cicely and Japanese quince. It will be fun to see how they do..and we will work more on the nursery part for our sub arctic climate.
If it worked out..I have attached a few pics- from our first year- just clearing the area- to 3 years later..quite a development- in our very short seasons, with no watersource , semiarid climate, off grid, and no machinery use.
looking forward to hear from other zone 2 growing enthusiasts
Agnes
Southernlakes area, Yukon 
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Matthew Lewis
Posts: 42
Location: Canada
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Agnes Seitz wrote:update Needle Mountain Food forest - zone 2 experiment  

If it worked out..I have attached a few pics- from our first year- just clearing the area- to 3 years later..quite a development- in our very short seasons, with no watersource , semiarid climate, off grid, and no machinery use.
looking forward to hear from other zone 2 growing enthusiasts
Agnes
Southernlakes area, Yukon 


That's a really nice looking progression Agnes! It would be great to see it in another 5-10 years once it has developed a bit more.

I am also a little concerned with the wild temperature fluctuations we have been having the past couple of years. Other then just the temperature swings it also melts off a lot of the snow cover which acts as a protective blanket, especially for very young plants.

I did end up making another video on this subject since I came across another 5 nurseries with hardy plants.

 
Tim Siemens
Posts: 12
Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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Something important to keep in mind when considering growing plants in the north is that to a certain extent longer days can compensate for a shorter growing season.  This is more important for annuals, but will also help perenial crops.  If you plants have a decent start by the time you hit the long days of June, it is amazing how fast they grow.

Looks like you have a good list of plants and ideas.  Here in Fort Nelson, there are apples, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, cranberries, currents, gooseberries.  Depends alot on microclimate too.  There is a huge difference between what you can grow in the river bottom (harsh winters and hot summers) and up on the hill 500 ft higher (much milder winters and more risk of frost in summer).

 
Matthew Lewis
Posts: 42
Location: Canada
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I few more possible nurseries to look into!

http://www.littletreenursery.com/ (Saskatchewan nursery, website hasn't been updated in awhile)
https://jiovi.com/ (Nursery in Maine that specializes in permaculture plants for you US folks, also carries seeds and mushroom spawn)
http://www.whiffletreefarmandnursery.ca (ridiculous selection of plants, mostly Zone 4-5, still lots of Zone 3, a few zone 2, located in Ontario)
 
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