There is already a ton of information out there and lots of good places to find help and supplies.
Have a look through the list below for some of my own personal recommendations.
*I am not affiliated with any of these in any way; I'm simply passing on information and giving credit where credit is due.
There are hundreds of places to find quality seeds for your garden. Here are the ones I use/have used and enjoyed over the years. I usually get the bulk of my seeds from only 2-3 suppliers , but supplement with small orders from smaller seed companies for certain specific items and varieties, OR to find replacements for the Out of Stocks from my larger seed orders (which I always place first for just this reason).
Your local nurseries are also good places to buy seeds, but you simply can't beat the selection of complete online catalogues. There are often several varietals of the same plant (like 5 different kinds of butternut squash), but stores and nurseries aren't likely to carry more than 1 or 2. Also, some of the seed companies you'll find in stores won't even list the varietal on the package (or much other information for that matter), making it hard to make an informed decision. Do yourself a favour and start looking more closely at what you're buying. Trust me, you'll love looking through seed catalogues in the winter and you'll appreciate all the information and variety they have to offer.
Larger seed suppliers:
West Coast Seeds (top 2 favourite) Excellent seed quality, selection, descriptions, information and customer service. Out of British Columbia
Johnny's Selected Seeds (top 2 favourite) Johnny's has the best information on growing that you're likely to find from a seed company. Excellent seed quality and selection. Only drawback for Canadians is the US currency, shipping costs and duties.
High Mowing Seeds. Dedicated to Organic growing. High quality seeds and service, but at higher prices for Canadians (same as Johnny's)
William Dam Seeds, Excellent seed quality and selection. Out of Ontario
OSC (Ontario Seed Company). Good selection. Out of Ontario
Smaller/Specialized seed suppliers:
Gelert Garden Farm. Best Canadian source of sweet potato slips. Excellent service and unique selection on beans and squash. Out of Ontario
Jardins de l'Écoumène. Good organic heirloom seed supplier out of Quebec.
Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes. Good source of organic seed potatoes in Canada. Out of Alberta
Sage Garden Greenhouses. Good source of seed potatoes in Canada. Out of Manitoba
Northern Seeds. Quality organic seed supplier, out of Quebec.
The Incredible Seed Company. Quality supplier of heirloom seeds. Interesting selection and varieties. Excellent service. Out of Nova Scotia
Saanich Organics. Quality organic seeds. Out of British Columbia.
Planting Charts /Schedules:
There are many regional planting charts available out there, but an excellent place to start is here. West Coast Seeds has compiled really good regional planting charts for all of the major regions and climates in northern North America. Just look through the options and find the one most appropriate for your area. A list of sample cities included in the region is listed at the bottom of each chart for your reference, with corresponding number of frost-free days. Just remember that any chart you find out there will only be a guideline. Every property has its own micro-climate and conditions (even pockets of micro-climates). Your garden plot will also have varying levels of sun exposure/shade, so only you will be able to determine what timing works best and what will be possible to grow there.
Soil testing for pH and various nutrient levels is a good way to get better acquainted with your garden. It is not a necessary step by any means, in general, but can be invaluable when trying to determine certain issues with crop success/failures, especially after a few years of growing. You can buy home tester kits online. These are not typically very accurate, but can give you a general sense of where your soil is at. A better way is to have your soil tested by a laboratory. Soil testing services are usually available quite readily as it is a popular thing to do for several horticultural professionals, as well as farmers. You should be able to find one in your area by simply searching for 'soil testing' in your online search engine, or by asking around at your local horticultural centers (like nurseries) and agricultural/feed stores. They aren't very expensive; usually between 30-50$, depending on what you request for, and well worth it. Aside from pH and the main nutrients (N,P,K), these tests can also determine organic matter content, various micronutrients, calcium saturation, etc.
If you live in Western Quebec, like me, you can bring your soil samples to M&R Feeds in Shawville. They have an arrangement with S.G.S. labs for the testing, but they walk you through the process and take care of everything for you.
If you're interested in growing mushrooms of any kind, I recommend buying your spawn and supplies from Grow Mushrooms Canada. It is a family run operation with excellent products and service. Out of British Columbia
If you'd like to read the published article I wrote on growing mushrooms in the garden, click HERE view/download the PDF. (ENGLISH ONLY)
Quality tools and having the right tool for the job is really worth investing in. While there are many places to buy tools and supplies for gardeners, the first place I look is always Lee Valley. They have an impressive selection of high quality tools and supplies with excellent descriptions, and their prices are always very competitive (for the same items). They also deliver anywhere in Canada very efficiently. Of course, they don't have everything, but it's a good place to start. Bigger seed suppliers like Johnny's also have a good selection of supplies at the back of their catalogues. If you're looking for bigger bulk materials like mulches and plastics, check out your local (larger) nurseries and agricultural coop store.
If you're just beginning your gardening journey and are looking for a more structured course program throughout the year, or are simply looking to increase your gardening knowledge in a more regimented way, have a look at these options:
Linda is a wealth of information. She is a trained entomologist, master gardener and acclaimed author. She is based in coastal British Columbia, and if you share a similar climate she is your one-stop-shop. Even for us gardeners in colder, more continental climates, she offers some of the most comprehensive information you're ever likely to find on gardening. Sign-up for her free monthly newsletter; it's well worth it. She also gives workshops and offers a yearly online year-round gardening course. Her books are also classics and well worth checking out.
(FRENCH ONLY) This more newly-minted platform is very well put together and offers several in-depth courses and tutorials. They have put a lot of time and effort in creating a well-rounded experience for the students, with videos, documents and access to an exclusive forum of member gardeners.
Diseases & Insect Pests:
Identifying insects (pests or otherwise) and diseases in your garden is a must; you have to know what you're dealing with to know how to prevent/stop them. After a while, you'll get to know the main cast of characters, but insect territories are constantly shifting/expanding and changes in climate/weather can exacerbate diseases so there's always more to learn. The best online resource I've seen so far for these is Linda Gilkeson's list. As a trained entomologist and lifelong gardener, she is uniquely qualified to compile such a list. It is simple, user friendly and very informative. While it is specific to her west coast climate, most of the bugs and diseases have a territory that spreads far and wide across North America.
If you can manage to snap a picture or two of the insect or disease, you can also good identification results from certain apps (see below).
As a rule of thumb, any nursery should be a good source of information, plants and supplies. That said, some are better than others. Look for nurseries that are producers as well as resellers, meaning they also produce their own plants to sell, from seed. These will tend to have better stock and better knowledge of what they sell. Avoid the 'nursery outlets' at big box stores for plant starts. Instead, get your starts from local farms in the spring or from your trusted local nurseries. If you live in the same general area as me, I highly recommend Les Serres Bourgeons. They produce quality plants, have great support service and will gladly accept special orders for plants and trees they don't have in stock (I ordered most of my fruit trees through them).
For cold hardy fruit tree and shrub varieties (beyond the selection offered by normal nurseries), check out these well-established nurseries:
The Green Barn: Offering unique varieties, many developed on their own farm, of fruits you just won't find anywhere else. They ship everywhere in Canada. Out of Quebec
Hardy Fruit Trees: Specialists in the hardiest of fruit tree varieties for Canadian climates. Out of Quebec.
There are more and more apps out there that can be helpful to us gardeners. While I have not tried any of the garden planning apps, I know that they exist and could be useful, so have a look around if you think this might interest you. The main apps I use have more to do with identification than planning. The most popular plant ID app is undoubtedly iNaturalist.
The ones I tend to use more are in the 'Picture This' series of apps (available for both Android and iOS). None of them are perfect, but they can be quite useful. Without apps such as these, the task of identifying the things you see becomes very laborious and challenging (almost impossible at times). You may have to pay for them, but they are well worth it if you're looking for help with identifying the things you see.
(These are the names of the apps only, not hyperlinks. Look for them in your app store)
Picture This: Plant identification app. I use it to identify weeds, wild flowers and sometimes help with plant disease diagnosis.
Picture Insect: Insect identification app. I use it to identify a whole range of garden bugs (pests and otherwise) and other insects I see around. You realize just how many there are when you start to look.
Picture Mushroom: Mushroom identification app. This is the best one I have found thus far. It's not free, but the results are the best I've seen.
Sadly, print publications have been in decline for many years with the rising popularity of online content and social media groups. Fortunately, there is one Canadian magazine that is still going strong and provides high quality content with minimal advertising. The Gardener (not to be confused with 'Canada's Local Gardener') has been around since 1995 and caters specifically to gardeners in our cold Canadian climate. It's a quarterly publication, sold by subscription and at newsstands across the country. It's a great magazine.
There are local gardening clubs everywhere! Just look for them on Facebook with the name of your nearest town or city and you are sure to find them. They can be quite helpful and sometimes put on informative events and garden tours. A good place to ask locally relevant questions.