Zone Three Gardening: 38 Viable Plants To Fill Your Garden - Homesteading Alliance
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Zone Three Gardening: 38 Viable Plants to Fill Your Garden

Do you live in planting zone three?

You may be wondering what would grow well in your area. Zone three can be challenging as it is a colder location with a shorter growing season.

Therefore, it can be difficult to know what’s even a possibility to grow in your area and how you should go about making your plants prosper.

I’m going to share with you which fruits and vegetables should thrive in your garden and also offer a few general grow-tips to help you have a prosperous garden in zone three.

Here’s what you can grow in zone three:

Zone Three Gardening Tips

The winters are long in zone three! This makes it difficult to have much time to grow any crops because the freezing temperatures don’t break long enough for most fruits or vegetables to come to fruition.

Well, there are ways around this. Be sure to start your seeds indoors. If you don’t direct sow but instead transplant starts, this will give the plants a on the growing season.

Also, consider using a greenhouse. If it’s heated, you should be able to produce various crops throughout the year.

If it isn’t heated, you can still use it to prolong your growing seasons. Some of the items mentioned below are also perennials.

Be sure to take proper care through pruning and covering with mulch to insulate from the cold temperatures, and they should produce year after year with little effort.

Plants Which Thrive in Planting Zone Three

1. Apples

I’m going to begin by introducing a tree to your garden. Even if you don’t have a large yard, you can grow dwarf sized fruit trees.

Dwarf apple trees will usually produce in the first three to five years. If you go with full-size, they may not produce for up to eight years. Either way, with proper pruning and pest treatments, you could produce a variety of apples in this zone which are great for snacking or for preserving.

2. Cherries

Cherry trees are a great addition to your garden. Like other fruit trees, they take time to begin producing.

However, if you take care of them, they’ll produce for years to come. Not to mention, cherry trees also add aesthetics to your property too.

3. Crabapple

Crabapples are a fruit you don’t commonly hear of people growing in our current generation, but they were heavily produced in the past.

You can make delicious crabapple jelly, and they’re a tree which will keep producing if cared for properly.

4. Plum

I have multiple plum trees growing in my yard right now. They’re smaller trees but will produce an abundance of fruit.

Plums are a healthy snack but can also be made into delicious jellies. If you like to have an array of jams and jellies for your toast, consider adding a plum tree to your property.

5. Pear

When I was growing up, I remember my preschool teacher made me eat my pears for lunch every day. Needless to say, I grew up hating pears.

But I married a man who enjoys a good pear as much as I enjoy an apple. If you have pear lovers in your family, add a pear tree to your yard and enjoy the harvest.

6. Apricot

Apricots are a fruit commonly overlooked when people are considering planting an edible landscape. Don’t be one of them.

You can make delicious apricot jams, but they’re also wonderful used in desserts or paired with a variety of meats.

7. Blueberries

I grow quite a few blueberry bushes in my yard. The person who owned the property before me planted a ton of them.

The great news is, they require little work and produce a large harvest. The downside is, your fingers will ache from all the picking by the end of the season. Yet, this is a great problem to have.

8. Raspberries

If you enjoy indulging in a tart fruit, you may want to consider planting raspberry bushes around your gardening area.

They’re a perennial plant which requires only a little pruning each year. Yet, they’ll produce a decent harvest depending upon how many bushes you plant.

9. Grapes

I also have a large number of grapes growing in my yard. They’re a beautiful addition to the landscaping.

But I love how much they produce each year. They’re wonderful for making grape juice and wine. Plus, they return each year and produce even more than the year before.

10. Watermelon

You may assume watermelon is only a warm weather plant. It does grow better in a warmer climate, but if you start the seeds indoors, you should have ample time to produce a few watermelons.

When transplanting them make sure you prepare for a vine to run wherever it’s planted. Some people use them as a way to avoid mowing certain sections of their yard.

11. Arugula

Arugula is one of my favorite plants to grow. We eat a great deal of lettuce around my house, and I like to spice things up a bit.

This is where arugula comes into play. It has a peppery taste and can be used in the place of other leafy vegetables.

12. Beans

Green beans are awesome little plants you sow in your garden, they’re hearty, and each plant produces a large quantity.

When you live in an area with a short season, this is the type of plant you should grow. If you take proper care of them, you can easily have enough green beans to preserve in even a smaller garden.

13. Beets



My husband is a huge fan of pickled beets, but my stepdad enjoys eating them by themselves. However, you choose to indulge in beets, you should consider growing them.

They’re a root vegetable which equates to them growing better in colder climates. Obviously, zone three is on the chilly side which makes this vegetable a great fit.

14. Bell Peppers

Every year we grow bell peppers. I grow basic green bell peppers, but I add in a few multi-colored bell peppers too.

They say the more colors you eat, the more nutrients you take in, and bell peppers are an easy way to eat a variety of colors. Therefore, start your bell peppers indoors, and plant a beautiful array of color in your garden when it warms up.

15. Broccoli

Broccoli does well in colder temperatures. You run into problems with broccoli when it warms up because the heads will sprout and begin to go to seed.

Therefore, broccoli is a great choice in a colder climate. You will have to plant a larger amount of it if your plant is to store any because each plant only produces a certain quantity.

16. Brussels Sprouts

When I was growing up, I avoided Brussels sprouts. I’m not sure why because I was a fan of cabbage. Until, one day, I went to a restaurant, and they served Brussels sprouts in a mustard sauce.

It was delicious. If you like Brussels sprouts, you should consider growing them yourself. In a colder climate, you should have a nice opportunity to be successful at it.

17. Cabbage

If you mention Brussels sprouts, you must mention cabbage. Cabbage is a versatile plant which is easy to grow and easy to store too.

Like Brussels sprouts, cabbage does better in colder climates because there are fewer bugs to attack them. You can store your harvest in a root cellar, or preserve it using other methods.

18. Celery



Celery can be a difficult crop to grow in warmer climates. You probably didn’t imagine you’d have the upper hand growing certain vegetables, but you do!

If you’re a fan of peanut butter and celery, you’re in luck because celery digs cold weather. Give it the proper care, and it should produce well in this zone.

19. Onions

Most people use onions when they cook. They’re an easy and inexpensive way to add a ton of flavor to any dish.

Therefore, stop buying onions, and grow your own. They’re easy to start from seeds, and can be easily stored in a root cellar to prolong their shelf life.

20. Peas

I’ll be the first to admit it. I love peas, but they’re a ton of work when it comes to shelling them. This doesn’t deter me from growing them.

If you love peas too, they’re a great option for this planting zone. Green peas thrive in cooler weather and should produce nicely for you if given what they need to grow.

21. Parsnips

Are you tired of growing the traditional carrot? You can try parsnips instead. They’re related to carrots but are a and have a slightly different flavor.

They grow well in containers and are perfect for smaller gardens as long as the soil is loose enough to give them the ability to grow.

22. Pumpkins



If you are someone who loves pumpkins to bake with and pumpkins to decorate with, you should seriously try growing your own pumpkins.

They’re a great vegetable to grow in zone three but be sure to start the seeds indoors. This will allow them to produce before frost overtakes them.

23. Rutabagas

You may not be totally familiar with rutabagas. They’re generally one of the different vegetables you see on a grocery store shelf and keep scrolling.

Well, break outside of the box and consider growing this unique vegetable. It’s a root vegetable which is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Therefore, zone three is a great place for it to grow.

24. Spinach

Spinach is a vegetable packed with all kinds of vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. Plus, they grow in conditions when many other vegetables won’t.

It’s a hearty vegetable and grows well in cooler temperatures. You can even grow it with snow on the ground if it’s tucked away in a greenhouse or a cold frame.

25. Strawberries

Do you enjoy fresh fruit? You should consider growing your own strawberries. They’re great to go on salads, to use in desserts, or use as a healthy snack.

However you choose to enjoy strawberries, they’re a great fruit to grow because they produce more and more with each passing year.

26. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

If you’re tired of growing regular potatoes, consider growing your own sweet potatoes. They usually prefer warmer temperatures when they grow.

Again, you must start them indoors and transplant, or grow the sweet potatoes in a warmer greenhouse setting.

27. Tomatoes

Though tomatoes are a warm-weather crop, you aren’t exempt simply because you live in planting zone three.

Instead, you must start the tomatoes indoors or grow them in a greenhouse setting. The good news is if you grow them outdoors, you can move them under a cold frame to protect them when frost moves in.

28. Turnips

You can grow turnips for two reasons. Both the turnip itself is edible and the greens. Turnips are a root vegetable and grow well in colder temperatures.

Keep in mind, turnips have a distinctly bitter taste. If you’re going to grow them for the greens only, you may want to grow them in a cold frame or greenhouse to protect them from frost.

29. Chives

We’ve discussed quite a few vegetables and fruits you can grow in the colder climate of planting zone three.

But let’s discuss a few herbs you can add to the mix. Chives are perfect for garnishing or adding to different recipes. Plus, it grows well in this colder climate.

30. Garlic



If you enjoy a large amount of flavor in your dishes, you most likely enjoy consuming garlic. If you do, you should try growing your own.

It’s easy to grow, can be easily stored, and you can also ferment garlic for an added boost to your gut health.

31. Peppermint

If you like making your own herbal teas, you should consider growing peppermint in planting zone three. It does well in this colder climate.

Plus, peppermint has a tendency to reproduce as well. You might want to consider growing it in a container to keep it from taking over.

32. Squash

Squash is one of those plants where you can plant a little and receive a large harvest. It’s great for those with a small growing space.

Plus, you can preserve squash by drying it or freezing it. These are easy methods of preservation which makes this a great plant for beginners.

33. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another variety of plant where you don’t have to plant abundantly to reap abundantly. If you like cucumbers for your salads or pickles, consider growing a plant or two.

They also grow well in containers and work for those with small grow spaces because you can choose smaller varieties, and you also only need to grow one or two plants.

34. Potatoes



Traditional potatoes grow well in colder climates. You can choose between Irish potatoes, fingerling, or even different colored potatoes.

Either way, they grow in the ground, do well with cooler temperatures, and are great producers. If you’d like fresh vegetables, potatoes should be one of your first options.

35. Chamomile

Are you into herbal teas? Do you like to use herbs for making your home smell fresh? Chamomile is a herb which is great for producing a calming effect.

Whether you’d like to use it in your tea or add it to your cleaning supplies, you should consider growing it in planting zone three.

36. Parsley

Herbs are your friend in cold climates. They’re a simple plant you can produce which will also add a ton of flavor to the other crops you grow.

Well, parsley is one of those delicious flavor boosters you can grow in zone three. It works wells as a garnish or to be added to a cooked dish.

37. Sorrel

My first year having a garden, I grew sorrel. I wasn’t familiar with it, and it was a total experiment. I enjoyed it very much.

If you’re unfamiliar with a variety of herbs, consider growing this herb in planting zone three. It packs a great deal of flavor in a small package.

38. Radishes

zone three gardening

zone three gardening

The final vegetable which should be a great choice for planting zone three is radishes. They grow well in colder temperatures, do well in cold frames, and can also be grown in a greenhouse setting.

But what makes radishes even more ideal is they can be planted as a seed and produce a full-grown radish in 45 days. When you have small growth windows, a fast-producer is a prized crop to grow.

Well, hopefully this will shine a little on zone three gardening – what vegetables, fruits, and herbs could have positive potential if your zone.

Though the temperatures are cold and the grow-time is short, you can still grow a wide variety of crops. Experiment with different varieties and also different grow techniques to see what works best for you.

We hope you have a prosperous garden and have a great many goods to preserve. Those fresh goodies will taste nice during the cold months.

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