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Gardeners in the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba face unique gardening challenges. Our harsh winters and short growing season mean that typical gardening advice doesn’t always work in our region.

Here are 25 prairie gardening books for you to enjoy that were written with cold-climate gardeners, or anyone gardening in Zones 2 or 3, in mind!

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Canadian Vegetable Gardening by Douglas Green

An excellent guide for beginner Canadian vegetable gardeners.

Vegetable Gardening for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba by Laura Peters

I love the Lone Pine series of books and this one is no exception. If you have a vegetable garden in one of the three prairie provinces, it doesn’t get more specific than this.

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour

This author hails from Nova Scotia, which has a milder climate. However, I think we could successfully use the author’s techniques until at least November.

Edible Plants for Prairie Gardens by June Flanagan

When many people begin to garden, they do it because they want to grow their own food. This book breaks down the best varieties for the prairies.

Growing Fruit in Northern Gardens by Sara Williams & Dr. Bob Bors

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I’m obsessed with prairie-grown fruit.


The Short Season Yard by Lyndon Penner

Make the most of our short growing season.

Garden Design for the Short Season Yard by Lyndon Penner

Finally a landscaping book specifically for the prairies!


One of the biggest challenges for new prairie gardeners is figuring out what will actually grow in Zone 2 or 3. Look no further than these four books.

Native Plants for the Short Season Yard by Lyndon Penner

Top picks for the prairies, as well as the chinook region around Calgary, which has its special challenges.

Native Plants for Prairie Gardens by June Flanagan

Gardening with Prairie Plants by Sally Wasowski

Creating the Prairie Xeriscape by Sara Williams

Want the shortcut? I’ve compiled a list of the 28 Most Hated Perennials and my 53 Favourite Perennials for Zones 2 and 3. I also have a beginner’s guide to gardening for when you feel like you have no clue.


Chances are that not everyone reading this post is from the prairies. These picks are for those who live elsewhere in Canada or the Midwest.

Canadian Gardener’s Guide edited by Lorraine Johnson

The New Canadian Garden by Mark Cullen with Marette Sharp

The Northern Gardener: Perennials that Survive and Thrive by Barbara Rayment

Plan the Perfect Garden

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Gardeners’ Magazine 

The Prairie Garden


The Prairie Winterscape by Barbara Jam & Nora Bryan

I confess that I am one of those people who hibernate during winter. I refuse to embrace the cold. This book reminds me that winter can be embraced, even in landscaping.

Gardening, Naturally by Sara Williams & Hugh Skinner

For those who want to avoid pesticides and chemicals, this book is for you.

Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies by Hugh Skinner & Sara Williams

Because gardening isn’t just about flowers and vegetables.

Best Groundcovers and Vines for the Prairies by Hugh Skinner & Sara Williams

The Prairie Rose Garden by Jan Mather

Perfect Partners by Liesbeth Leatherbarrow & Lesley Reynolds

It takes a lot of years of gardening and sometimes a pinch of luck to figure out what goes well together in the garden. Take the shortcut and read this book!


Here are a few books that aren’t specific to the prairies but are good reads for the urban and beginning gardener.

Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell

You would be amazed at how many vegetables you can grow up rather than out. A must-read for the urban gardener.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Container Gardening for Canada by Laura Peters, Alison Beck, & Don Williamson

There are tons of container gardening books, but one that’s specific to Canada? Be still my heart!


Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte

Roses Love Garlic by Louise Riotte

Vegetables Love Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler

Related: Goodbye Bugs! 14 Flowers to Companion Plant in Your Vegetable Garden

Did I miss any of your favourites? I’d love to hear about it. While you’re at it, let me know in the comments which book you want to read first!

And if you’re looking to add one more title to your list, check out my Growing Roots Gardening Guide to transform you from garden newbie to confident gardener.

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Grow roots with us



Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!