I am expanding my high technology agricultural tech base into my homesteads woodlands. I did a woodland bio survey with a expert from the University of New Hampshire's County Extension Office. We found the woodlands to be in good health with lots of potential for development into a productive agricultural sector of our farm economy.

What follows is a email I received from the County Extension Officer. I work with this officer on a number of issues.

Hey Ed this is a very interesting project.

As far as your fiddleheads go. I’m very curious about your propagation method. Do plan to collect the fertile fronds from plants and then spread them around your area? Another option may be vegetative propagation through dividing clumps of ferns, just like dividing perennial plants. I’m going to contact Dave in Maine to see what he says. He is an old colleague of mine and a specialist in non-timber forest products. Either way I think this is pretty cool, maybe you can take two areas seed one with the fronds containing the spores and divide and plant another section and see what happens? I’ll let you now what Dave thinks. FYI you can order in plants from nurseries.

Ed you may also want to incorporate mushrooms into your forest. You could possibly use some of the dead hardwoods, cut some down, or bring in some logs to inoculate the mushrooms on.

Considering hazelnuts, even though they tolerate heavy shade they most likely will produce better with more sun. So I would ask yourself what you want to get out of those plants and then alter the landscape to fit those needs, or not. And like Brendan said you have to get to them before all the critters. I think one way around this would be to pick them green and ripen off the plant. Never done this myself but there is some recommendations for that.

If you have wet and or sunny spots another interesting native edible may be elderberry, something to think on. And you could also establish highbush cranberry although Brendan thinks they taste like old socks! There are also some other Viburnum species to consider too.

Let me know if you have questions.