Also, raised vegetable and fruit beds, jams, jellies, and pies with farm-grown rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and concord grapes. Our free planting guide calculates the best dates for sowing seeds indoors and outdoors, and for transplanting seedlings to the garden—all customized to your location. Cucumber, Muskmelon, and Watermelon. Able to fix its own nitrogen, groundnut seems capable of growing almost anywhere. Starting Seeds Indoors Fill a seedling starting tray with potting mix made for seedlings. Oak species grow in a range of conditions from zones 3-9. The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Horticulture Clinic Is open to handle gardening questions, soil samples and diagnostic questions. Sweet potatoes need a longer and warmer growing season and do not do as well in the state. Location 120 College Highway Southwick, MA 01077. Ellen Walther Sousa, author of The Green Garden:  A New England Guide to Planting and Maintaining the Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden, is a central Massachusetts garden coach who helps local gardeners build, maintain, and nurture safe, healthy, and beautiful landscapes. Photo: Russ Cohen. 14 Iconic Foods In Massachusetts That Will Have Your Mouth Watering. Where present, the VLB skeletonizes viburnum leaves and weakens or kills wild and cultivated plants, and the outlook is bleak for the future of our native Viburnum. A pioneer shrub, Staghorn sumac seeds itself into abandoned fields and disturbed roadsides. When you purchase a copy of the Guide you can also … In the wild, sassafras grows in moist areas, but it can tolerate drier soils too and is a good choice for a woodland edge or naturalized thicket. New Jersey Tea stays a manageable height (2’–3′) and thrives in full sun and lean soil without irrigation or fertilizing required. Cool Season Vegetables; Seed Sale; Container Vegetables; All American Selections (AAS) High Yield Vegetables; Artichokes; Asparagus; Beans; Beets; Broccoli; Brussel Sprouts; Burdock; Cabbage; Carrots; Cauliflower; Celery; Celeriac; Chard; Chicory; Collards; Corn; Cowpea; Cucumbers; Eggplant; Fennel; Garlic; Gourds; Greens; Horseradish; Husk Cherry; Kale; Kohlrabi; Leeks; Lettuce; Melons; Microgreens; Okra; … He also serves as the Rivers Advocate for the Division of Ecological Restoration of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. Elderberry blossoms can be used in syrup or beverages, and processed berries have a sweet flavor just perfect for wine. Douglas Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home describes the Oak as the host plant for over 500 species of lepidoptera caterpillar, making a single oak tree better than any manmade bird feeding station for supporting wild birds. Russ has taught edible wild plant and mushroom courses throughout New England for 40 years. Photos by Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com. You can plant lettuce transplants from April to Aug. 1 and harvest them throughout the fall for the highest yield. Acorns from oak trees with round-lobed leaves have lower levels of tannic acid making them easier to process into flour or meal suitable for baking. Photo used by permission: Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com. Acorns are edible by people, too, although the tannic acid needs to be leached out (typically by boiling in repeated changes of water) to render them palatable. The edible fruit starts out green, turns red, eventually blackens when ripe, and has the consistency of stewed prunes with a bit of clove-like, spicy flavor. Grow Native Massachusetts 240 Beaver Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02452 781-790-8921 | info@grownativemass.org. They are quite tart when raw, but excellent for making jelly or juice. Indian cucumber is a small, dainty, woodland lily sought by some for its roots, which taste like starchy cucumbers or jicama. Carrot and Parsnip. Ma lan tou (马兰头), also known as kalimeris indica, Indian aster or Indian kalimeris, is a flowering perennial and one of the many favorite vegetables of the Shanghainese. You can plant snap peas, the most popular pea crop grown in Massachusetts, as soon as the soil is tillable. Carrots, as a cool-season crop, do well. Note that many of the selections on the Native Plants list support pollinators and other wildlife. Massachusetts has a diverse climate and so the vegetables you choose to grow there may vary depending on where you live. MCC ©2020 Grow Native Massachusetts. There are many benefits in growing native plants. In northern Massachusetts, this may not be until mid-May, while you may plant corn seeds in the southern part of Massachusetts in late April. Sassafras is the other. Hickories are important “mast” trees, large trees that provide edible nuts and many other resources for people and wildlife. Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods is a leading, locally operated wholesale food distributor in Westbrook, Maine serving businesses throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts with delivery of fresh produce, dairy, meats and specialty foods. An excellent container plant for a patio homestead food and medicine garden. Soft yellow flowers in April light up the barren early-spring landscape and attract early season pollinating insects with their spicy fragrance. Wild Raisin grows in most soils with adequate moisture in sun or light shade. There is a continuing trend in horticulture towards the increased use of plants of North American origin in the garden. That said, young sassafras leaves (which have no Safrole content) are the primary ingredient in Filé powder, used to flavor and thicken soups and stews. Spicebush is one of just two host plants used by the stunning Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars. According to Thoreau, who harvested them at Walden Pond, groundnuts taste better ‘boiled than roasted’. Regenerative Solutions for Resilient Landscapes, As Things Always Change, the Nature of Nature Remains the Same, Small Native Shrubs to Replace Commonly Used Exotics, Gleanings from Headline News – November 2020. Eggplant. White flowers in late spring attract many pollinators. A small shrub, New Jersey Tea is well-suited for lean, well-drained acidic soil in full sun. The fiery fall color on attractive, tri-lobed- leaves is a plant tactic to attract the attention of migrating birds to its dark berries. Massachusetts and North Dakota. Propagate Indian cucumber at home in a woodland garden for its tasty tubers. Planting calendars for places in Massachusetts. Modern versions of the dish may include mussels, fish, crabs and non seafood ingredients like chicken, sausage, potatoes and other root vegetables. The fruits ripen in early to mid-September, and then give off a great grape aroma, which helps in their detection. Zones 4-8. You might want to build a mound before planting the carrots to help loosen the soil, but after this initial time investment the carrots need little care. Although the species is often encountered in open woods growing with beech, birch, and maple, harvesting roots can kill the plant, so home propagation from tubers is encouraged in order to protect this species. Zones 4-6. The clinic is not able to handle walk-in clients or phone calls at this time. On the other hand, indigenous New England plants (pre-dating European settlement of the USA), have evolved to grow right here in our mostly-acidic soils and changeable seasons, and if sited appropriately, can be a lower-maintenance option for homeowners hoping to diversify their diet and grow more of their own food. Find the best dates for planting and transplanting vegetables and fruit! Wait until after the last frost date, when the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are definitions from the Weed Science Society of America: Weed: “A plant that causes economic losses or ecological damages, creates health problems for humans or animals or is undesirable where is it growing.”Think crabgrass, giant foxtail or common lambsquarters, for example. Zones 3-9. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science. Of New England’s native hickories, Shagbark (Carya ovata) produces the largest and tastiest nuts, with a flavor similar to walnuts dipped in maple syrup. Call us crazy, but we think that Massachusetts has some of the best homegrown dishes in the country. Birds love to nest in beach plum, and its foliage (as a member of the Prunus family) is important food for the caterpillars of many butterfly species, so beach plum is a wonderful multi-purpose tree. A twining vine common to wild areas (often seen growing up and around other plants), both the beans and underground tubers of groundnut are edible. Native Fruit & Vegetables. Fall foliage is a beautiful orangey-red, and the large red fruit clusters persist well into winter, providing winter color and a valuable food source for overwintering birds. All beans grow well in Massachusetts except lima beans. A common flowering shrub of wetlands, elderberry blooms in white frothy clusters in early summer, providing important nectar for native bees and beneficial predatory insects. Less than 20 inches tall, this diminutive plant has pretty, yellow, down-facing flowers in spring and dark, fleshy berries in fall that feed migrating birds. Zone 4-9. As opposed to Annuals which live only 1 season, perennials come back year after year, some for more than 10 or 15 years - and even a hundred years like peonies! Photo: Russ Cohen. Members of the Algonquian language family, the Massachuset cultivated corn (maize) and other vegetables, gathered wild plants, and hunted and fished. Massachusetts has a diverse climate and so the vegetables you choose to grow there may vary depending on where you live. This continent has a great diversity of plant life, much of which lends itself to residential and commercial landscapes. Carolyn Summers’ book Designing Gardens with Flora of the Northeast cites a study showing the fat percentages of eastern native berries and Spicebush ranked third with 33.2% fat (compared to Gray Dogwood at 39.9% (p. 24). Plant beans in the soil after the temperature exceeds 60 F. Rotate your bean crop every year to avoid diseases that stay in the soil over the winter. The leaf-enriched soil under oak trees is also ideal for cultivating other native woodland edibles that grow best in this fungally-rich environment, including nannyberry and hobblebush. Choose different types of corn with a variety of maturation dates to harvest throughout the late summer and early fall. Perennial flowers are fabulous additions to New England gardens. Get ecological news and event updates in your inbox. However the clinic is not being staffed regular hours and questions should be submitted by email to gardeners@barnstablecounty.org. Lawn and Garden Products. Nannyberry produces tasty fruit. He is the author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten (Essex County Greenbelt Association, 2004) and has written a chapter on edible natives for Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s A Native Plants Reader. Some people make syrup, beverages, and fritters utilizing Elderberry blossoms. Grow Native Massachusetts 240 Beaver Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02452 781-790-8921 | info@grownativemass.org. Corn, Ornamental and Popcorn. Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur,’ a selection of Wild Raisin from the southeastern US that is hardy well into New England, has foliage that turns a beautiful fiery red and purple “raisins.” Photo used by permission: Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com, Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides or alnifolium). Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Celery and Celeriac. Viburnums produce abundant edible berries that are valuable food for autumn/winter birds and their foliage is essential food for many butterflies and moths, including the spectacular cecropia moth and the day-flying hummingbird clearwing moth. Photo used by permission: Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com. Edible gardening generally brings to mind beds of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and other foods with origins in distant continents. You don’t need to live in wetlands to grow elderberry, but it does best in a moisture-retentive soil in mostly sun. Zones 4-9. These ingredients, along with seasonings, are added at various times during cooking and slowly simmered together to create a hearty one-pot meal. Pollinated flowers turn into sugary, edible berries that birds also enjoy eating. Easy to grow from acorns pushed into the soil, an oak grown from local seed will very quickly begin to support a huge variety of co-evolved native herbivorous and predatory insects – essential food for many woodland bird species. The nuts typically ripen from mid-September through the first week of October. Ellen writes and teaches classes in earth-friendly gardening with an emphasis on native eastern plants. Potatoes grow especially well in Massachusetts, surviving in a wide range of soils. Zones 4-9. Hobblebush prefers damp woodland soil and protection from the hot summer sun. Shagbark hickory has interesting peeling bark that make it a worthwhile ornamental landscape tree for winter interest. Corn is one of the major vegetables grown in Massachusetts and throughout New England. Secondary rhizomes can be harvested in the fall of the second year. Bright red winterberries provide striking color during the winter months. Photo used by permission: Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com. Massachuset, North American Indian tribe that in the 17th century may have numbered 3,000 individuals living in more than 20 villages distributed along what is now the Massachusetts coast. Zones 2-8. The Romans grew them and they were a popular vegetable in the Middle Ages. These skilled Native American farmers knew how to get the most out of the poor coastal soil and taught the Pilgrims to do the same. Based on frost dates and planting zones. This species is one of the native plants American colonists turned to for brewing tea while boycotting British tea during the Revolutionary War. Indian cucumber is very difficult to propagate from seed. If you’re lucky enough to own even a quarter acre of land or more in New England, you may find many of the native plants described here already growing. All beans grow well in Massachusetts except lima beans. A number of states have established voluntary "pollinator-friendly" certification programs to help solar developers implement, maintain, and promote native meadow habitats under and around solar panels. Earth Tones Native Plants in Woodbury (earthtonesnatives.com) is a native plant nursery, opened in 2004, which offers grasses, ferns, perennials, shrubs and trees native to our region. Massachusetts Native Plants: A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. A nice, slow-brewed tea can be made by placing a handful of tender wintergreen leaves in a clear jar filled with water and leaving the jar out in the sun for a day or two. Be a Local Hero buylocalfood.com . Native plants hardy to zone 6a along the shores and zone 5 on the interiors include white wood aster, Solomon’s plume and barren strawberry. Both the beans and the peanut-like tubers of the groundnut are edible. Yes, other plants and products might do equally well, but if you want what we commonly call a “no-brainer”, you can’t go wrong with the selections that are marked with this graphic. While the bark of sassafras roots has a familiar “root beer” aroma that has a long history of usage as a flavoring for drinks, confections, and medicines, the Food and Drug Administration warns that an essential oil in the root bark (Safrole) might be carcinogenic in large amounts. A rapid growing tree species, American Elms may be 50 feet tall in only 20 years. Hobblebush blooms in the April woods at Buck Hill Conservation Area, Spencer, MA. Sweet potatoes need a longer and warmer growing season and do not do as well in the state. Note on Viburnums: An invasive foreign insect called the Viburnum Leaf Beetle (VLB) has been ravaging native Viburnum along the east coast in the last few decades. The New England climate makes for prime growing for certain fruits and vegetables… They do best, however, in well-drained loamy or sandy soil. Tour the farm online at THBFarm.com. Tubers (swollen roots like peanuts) were a staple survival food for Native Americans and early colonists. New England beekeepers value sassafras for the quality of the honey produced from it. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. These are classic Massachusetts foods and dishes that are utterly delicious. Staghorn sumac is quick-growing and can be effectively used as an island in a lawn for screening and bird habitat, but take into account its eventual height (25′). ... Download the harvest calendars for Massachusetts and Connecticut! Bean: Snap, Lima and Dry. But, given rich soil and at least half a day of sun, it can be encouraged to grow into a thick, ground-covering mat. Photo: Russ Cohen. All Rights Reserved. Cut one-third of the oldest, thickest stems to the ground each year for three years. A rejuvenation pruning every five to eight years will keep elderberry productive for many years. Nancy Shohet West can be reached at nancyswest@gmail.com . Certain vegetables grow well in all of Massachusetts, however, thriving on the soil conditions and climate that the state provides. Nannyberry is a little more tolerant of dry soils than its cousins the Hobblebush and Wild Raisin. Elderberry stems are critical habitat for the iridescent Elderberry Borer beetle. Zones 3-9. Zones 3-8. Photo: Russ Cohen. Perfect for a woodland edge or a “songbird hedge” to support migrating birds on their long journeys north and south. Potatoes grow especially well in Massachusetts, surviving in a wide range of soils. Thanks to the warm Atlantic currents, most of Connecticut enjoys a milder climate than the rest of New England; Massachusetts' eastern third shares the benefits of living along the shore. Massachusetts chose American Elm as it was the tree species Georgia Washington stood beneath when he assumed command of the Continental Army in 1775. Pignuts are not as tasty as shagbark, hence its name; colonists considered them worthy to feed only livestock. Both sweet corn and ornamental corn grows well in the soil. Quick to grow when young, if well-sited, an oak tree will be loved and admired by your grandchildren’s children. © 2020 Ecological Landscape Alliance. Russ Cohen, environmentalist and wild foods enthusiast, enjoys nibbling on and promoting the planting of edible native species. Photo used by permission: Ellen Sousa/THBFarm.com. Zones 4-8. Beet and Swiss Chard. Garden … Spinach choices include smooth-leaf and savoy. North America is divided into many ecologically distinct regions. Nectar rich Sassafras flowers attract a variety of bees and other pollinators. It typically invades higher-elevation parts of coastal wetlands. The dry fruit of the female spicebush produces a peppery seasoning for humans, but also a high-fat food source for migrating birds. The 2020-2021 New England Vegetable Management Guide is also available in print and may be ordered online or from any of the New England Extension state publication offices. The most common and easy to grow hickory in central MA, Pignut hickory grows on rich woodland slopes along with oaks and yellow birch. Make sure to leave plenty of berries on the plants so the birds get their share. Pignuts are not as tasty as shagbark, hence its name; colonists considered them worthy to feed only livestock. Parsnips are thought to be native to the Mediterranean region. 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