The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone 5 includes several states in the American Midwest, such as Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan. The average lowest winter temperature in Zone 5 ranges from -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Gardeners in Zone 5 should select fruit and vegetable plants that can withstand harsh winter weather and milder summer temperatures.
The wild pear (Pyrus communis), a member of the rose family (Rosaceae), comes from Asia and Southern Europe and does well in USDA Zones 4 to 8. This pear tree variety reaches between 25 and 30 feet in height and 15 to 20 feet in width. White blossoms appear in March and April, followed by pears that mature from mid-summer until autumn. The wild pear prefers humusy, well-drained soils in full sun positions. Dark green leaves turn yellow and red in the autumn. The wild pear often suffers from fireblight, canker and pear psylla infestations. Zone 5 gardeners primarily plant this tree for the fruit.
Black currant shrubs (Ribes nigrum), fruiting members of the Grossulariaceae plant family, typically perform well in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7. Reaching up to 4 feet in both height and spread, this plant prefers rich, well-drained soils in partly shady to fully sunny positions. Gardeners in Zone 5 should plant these shrubs in locations that protect them from harsh winter elements. The black currant features aromatic, green leaves and green-yellow flowers that bloom in April. The blossoms are followed by clusters of black currants that mature in June and July. Powdery mildew, fungal leaf spot and anthracnose often affect plants in humid climates. Other potential problems include white pine blister rust, currant fruit flies and currant bud mites. Gardeners sometimes use black currents as ornamental hedges.
The gooseberry shrub (Ribes uva-crispa) thrives in USDA Zones 4 to 6. This member of the Grossulariaceae plant family typically reaches about 5 feet in height and 6 feet in width. Green-yellow flowers bloom in April, followed by red berries that mature in July. This thorny shrub prefers well-drained, moist soils in full sun positions. Zone 5 gardeners should place gooseberry shrubs where they will be protected from high winds and harsh winter weather. Potential problems include scale, rust, mites, leaf spots and aphids. Gooseberries grow well in fruit and vegetable gardens.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea), an annual vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, naturally occurs in Western Europe and performs well across the United States (U.S.). Broccoli plants need well-drained, moist soils in full sun positions. Reaching 12 to 18 inches in both height and spread, broccoli offers yields in both the late spring and in the early fall. Established broccoli plants tolerate some heat and frost conditions. Broccoli sometimes suffers from downy mildew. Gardeners in Zone 5 typically plant broccoli in vegetable gardens.
Asparagus (Asparagus), a perennial in the lily family (Liliaceae), grows well in USDA Zones 3 to 10. This plant needs moist, rich soils in fully sunny locations. The roots typically require two to three years before producing a crop. Asparagus plants reach 3 to 4 feet in height with spreads up to 2 feet. Female asparagus plants produce non-showy, white to yellow flowers and red berries. Edible shoots ripen in April and May. Asparagus plants sometimes suffer from root rot, crown rot and rust. This plant works well in Zone 5 vegetable gardens.