Köppen Climate Classification - Dsd - Subarctic or Boreal Climates with Severe Winters–Dry Summer

Latitudes: Around 60°-70° in northern latitudes.


Temperatures: Severe winters with temps in coldest months lower than -38 °C. Short, cool summers; long, bitter winters. Only 1–3 months above 10 °C (50.0 °F), with the coldest month at or below −38 °C (−36.4 °F)


Precipitation: Low precipitation. Dry summer. 


Relevant geography: Occurring only in parts of Siberia.


USDA equivalent zones: 1


Soil patterns of zone (if any): Strongly acidic soils, poor drainage and possible seasonal swampy conditions. Lacking fertility. In some areas, ice has scoured the ground to down bare rock.


Dominant plant life of the region: Northern coniferous forest.


Strengths/challenges for plant life: Short growing season, extreme light/dark cycle, and cold temperatures.


Garden plants that are a good fit for this region: Compact varieties for growing in greenhouses.


Dominant animal life (or its features): Adapted to extremely cold winters. Siberian tiger, caribou, and other hoofed animals.


Challenges for animal raising: Severe winters.


Animals that are a good fit for this region: Caribou


Notes: The names of some of these areas have become synonyms for the extreme, severe winter cold. Permafrost common.



Your climate region is probably the most challenging for agriculture, outside of the tundra and ice caps. Occurring around 60°-70° in northern latitudes, you would naturally expect colder weather than other parts of the world. However, this particular climate, existing only in parts of Siberia, has much colder winters than areas at similar latitudes. The names for these places have become synonyms for brutal, cold winters.


The long, hard winters will drop below −38 °C (−36.4 °F), experiencing the coldest temperatures outside of the arctic. Only 1-3 months will experience temperatures above 10 °C (50.0 °F). But due to the wide temperature fluctuations of this region, nighttime temperatures can still go below freezing. Your climate falls within USDA plant hardiness zone 1.


Your climate zone has generally low levels of precipitation. Summer are particularly dry. Your driest summer month will get less than one-third the precipitation of your wettest winter month.


Soils in this region are strongly acidic and have poor drainage. Soil fertility is lacking. You may experience seasonal swampy conditions. In some areas, ice may have scraped the soil away down to the bare rock.


While this region is harsh, it is not devoid of plant life. Coniferous forests grow here, forming an abundant, if not diverse, biome.


The cold temperatures and extremely short growing season make outdoor gardening seriously challenging at best. Building a greenhouse is a much more plausible option for someone trying to grow their own foods. Select compact varieties to maximize your space, and be sure to reinforce your greenhouse against the weight of snow.


With enough space, lighting, and heat, you can grow just about anything in a greenhouse. Unfortunately, our resources are rarely as abundant as we would like. Some plants, such as peppers and tomatoes, will require higher temperatures to produce fruit. Others, like greens and carrots, can be grown in cooler temperatures saving you fuel or electricity for heating.


Another limitation to consider are pollinators, or your lack thereof. Cucumbers and other insect pollinated plants will need to be hand pollinated in order to produce food. Other plants, such as carrots, lettuce, and beets will produce food without pollinators.


In a greenhouse, space usually comes at a premium. The following varieties of plants are suitable for growing in containers, which can help manage space and will also help to limit heat loss to the ground:


•  Bean - Derby, Eureka, Mascotte, Tendercrop, Topcrop

•  Beet - Burpee’s Golden, Chiggoia, Detroit Dark Red Medium Top, Ruby Queen

•  Carrot - Danver’s Half Long, Little Finger, Nantes Half Long, Paris Market, Yaya

•  Cucumber - Bush Champion, Bush Pickle, Iznik, Parisian Gherkin, Patio Snacker, Salad Bush, Saladmore Bush, Space Master, Sugar Crunch

•  Eggplant - Dusky, Early Midnight, Gretel, Hansel, Ivory, Ophelia, Patio Baby, Pinstripe

•  Lettuce - Jack Ice, Bibb, Rouge D’Hiver, Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Oak Leaf

•  Okra - Carmine Splendor, Clemson Spineless, Jambalaya

•  Pea - Caselode, Peas-in-a-Pot, Sugar Ann

•  Pepper - Cajun Belle, Cayennetta, Cherry Stuffer, Cute Stuff Red, Gypsy, Just Sweet, Lady Belle, Mariachi, New Ace, Orange Blaze, Red Chili, Sweet Golden Baby Belle, Tangerine Dream

•  Radish - Champion, Comet, D’Avignon, Early Scarlet Globe, French Breakfast, Red Satin, Rido Red, Sparkles, White Icicle

•  Spinach - Bloomsdale, Red Cardinal, Regiment, Type, Catalina, Teton

•  Squash - Astia, Golden Scallopini Bush, Golden Zebra, Multipik, Supersett, Sweet Zuke, Zebra Zuke

•  Swiss chard - Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Lucullus, Peppermint

•  Tomato - Amish Paste, Atlas, Baby Boomer, Bush Big Boy, Bush Champion, Bush Early Girl, BushSteak, Cherry Jubilee, Cherry Cascade, Container Superbush, Early Resilience, Patio Paste, Patio Princess, Super Bush, Sweetheart of the Patio, Tumbler, Veranda Red


Kitchen herbs can also be grown in containers, as can several varieties of fruits (strawberries, blueberries, etc.).


Typically, greens will be the easiest to grow with the least investment of heat and space. As your skills and confidence grow, you can expand to other plants. Microgreens, vegetables and herbs in their sprout form, are another option, requiring only the bare minimum of care.


But suppose you want to raise animals, rather than plants. Raising animals presents the same challenges are growing plants. All of the animals here must be adapted to extreme cold.


The region is home to Siberian tigers, caribou, and other hoofed animals.


For outdoor animals, consider caribou. They are adapted to the region and are already raised commercially. They’re also less likely to eat you than a Siberian tiger. You can raise animals indoors too. Quails can be raised in a limited space for their meat and eggs.