Gardening in the HRM - What to Grow & When to Grow

In Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), the best time to start a garden depends on several factors, including the type of plants you want to grow, the local climate, and your gardening goals. Here are some guidelines:


Halifax experiences a relatively late frost date compared to some other regions, typically around late May. Therefore, for many plants, it’s advisable to wait until after the last frost before planting tender crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash directly in the ground. However, cold-hardy crops like lettuce, spinach, peas, carrots, and radishes can be planted earlier, as soon as the ground can be worked, which is usually in April or early May.


If you missed the spring planting window, you can still start a garden in early summer. Many warm-season vegetables and flowers can still be planted in June. Just be sure to provide adequate water and monitor for pests and diseases, as the weather warms up.


Halifax’s mild autumn weather offers another opportunity for gardening. Cool-season crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and carrots can be planted in late summer or early fall for a fall harvest. Additionally, you can plant garlic in the fall for harvest the following year.


Halifax gardeners can also consider gardening year-round by using techniques such as cold frames, row covers, and greenhouse gardening to extend the growing season and protect plants from frost. This allows for the cultivation of cold-hardy crops throughout the winter months.

What to Plant

HRM has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons ( how Canadian of us 😛 ). While the growing season is relatively short compared to more southerly regions, a variety of fruits and vegetables can be successfully grown in the area. Here are some examples:

  1. Apples: Certain apple varieties, such as McIntosh, Cortland, and Nova Scotia’s own Gravenstein, thrive in the HRM’s climate.
  2. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be grown in the HRM. Some may require protection or winter mulching to survive colder temperatures.
  3. Potatoes: Potatoes are well-suited to the climate of HRM and can be grown successfully in local gardens.
  4. Root vegetables: Carrots, turnips, beets, and radishes are examples of root vegetables that can be grown in Halifax’s soil.
  5. Greens: Lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are cold-hardy greens that can be grown in Halifax, both in the spring and fall.
  6. Squash and pumpkins: Varieties of winter squash and pumpkins, such as butternut squash and sugar pumpkins, can be grown in Halifax’s gardens.
  7. Cabbage family: Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are cool-weather crops that can thrive in Halifax’s climate.
  8. Herbs: Many herbs, including parsley, chives, thyme, and sage, can be grown in HRM gardens, either in the ground or in containers.
  9. Rhubarb: Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that grows well in the HRM and is often used in pies, jams, and desserts.
  10. Beans and peas: Both bush and pole beans, as well as peas, can be grown in Halifax during the warmer months.

In Conclusion

While Halifax’s climate presents some challenges for gardening, with careful planning and attention to local conditions, a wide range of fruits and vegetables can be cultivated successfully in the region. Gardeners may also employ techniques such as season extension with cold frames or row covers to maximize their growing season. Overall, the best time to start a garden here in the HRM varies depending on what you want to grow and your specific gardening conditions. It’s always a good idea to consult local gardening resources, such as gardening guides specific to Nova Scotia or advice from experienced local gardeners, to tailor your gardening plans to the unique climate and conditions of the HRM. Halifax Seed Company is a great resource for gardeners!

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