Wild Edibles Walk with Russ Cohen
Date: Tuesday, July 9th
Southern Maine is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join Russ Cohen, wild edibles enthusiast and author of Wild Plants I Have Known . . . and Eaten, on a three-hour ramble through Fort Williams, to learn about over two dozen species of edible wild plants. Russ has documented over 40 wild and tasty species at Fort Williams – native species like Staghorn Sumac, Black Elderberry and Wild Bergamot; non-native weeds, like Chicory, Day Lily and Ox-eye Daisy; and invasive species, like Japanese Knotweed. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging.
About Russ Cohen
Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation – connecting to nature via his taste buds, and assisting others in doing the same. Russ is now playing the role of “Johnny Appleseed” for edible native species. He has set up a small nursery (in Weston, MA) where he grows/keeps over 1,000 plants that he propagates from seed (some of which he collected himself), as well as obtains from other sources, such as the Native Plant Trust. He then partners with land trusts, cities and towns, schools and colleges, state and federal agencies, organic farms, tribal groups and others to plant plants from his nursery in appropriate places on their properties. Russ has initiated over two dozen such projects in the past six years."
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 email@example.com.
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.