Identifying Edible Wild Foods with Russ Cohen at Viles Arboretum

$ 20.00

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Did you know that the Viles Arboretum used to be a farm that grew food for the Augusta Mental Health Institute? Over 150 years later, this land is still producing food, but now it is the wild plants of the forests and fields. To learn how to identify these plants, join expert wild forager, Russ Cohen, for a ramble through the arboretum's landscape. Russ, who has over 45 years of experience identifying, propagating, sustainably harvesting and cooking with wild plants, will show you native edible species that you can plant in your landscape and also many non-native weeds that offer plentiful foraging opportunities. Russ is the author of Wild Plants I Have Known...and Eaten.

Program fee: $20/person. Space is limited, so register early.
This program is sponsored by Wild Seed Project and the Viles Arboretum's Food & Forest Project. The Viles Arboretum’s Food & Forest Project is creating a multi-layered landscape that will provide food for both people and wildlife while also creating habitat. Many of the shrubs, perennials and groundcovers will be native to Maine to encourage bird and pollinator species as well as showcase the abundance of edible foods that grow naturally in our state.

Date: Thursday, June 13th, Augusta
Time: 12:30-2:30pm 

Each seed package carries a specific germination code along with the plant description. These codes indicate specific sowing instructions.

  • A Seeds can be sown outdoors in fall or early spring.
  • B Seeds need a winter or cold period to germinate. Sow outdoors in fall or winter.
  • C Seeds need light to germinate; sow on soil surface and leave uncovered.
  • D Seeds need alternating cycles of warm-to-cold-to-warm to germinate. They can be sown either outdoors in spring or summer and will germinate the following year or in a flat in a warm place for 3 months, then moved to a refrigerator for 2 months, then moved outside in the early summer warmth.
  • E Seeds can not be allowed to dry out. Sow immediately.
  • F Seeds take two years to germinate. Sow outside in the fall or winter and look for germination in the second spring. A shady location prevents the flats from rapid drying and reduces weeding
  • G Large seeds should be soaked overnight in water.
  • FERN: Sow spores in a warm bright location in a sealed container and keep moist. Directions enclosed with package. Challenging.

If you have specific questions about seeds and germination guidelines please contact us at

All seeds can be sown and placed outdoors in fall or winter bypassing the need for an artificial indoor cold stratification (refrigerator) required for some species when planted in spring. This is the simplest method. See How to Grow Natives From Seed for detailed instructions.