I'm looking for hardy (USDA Z4/Z5; -15F winter lows) perennials (or low maintenance reseeding annuals) that are easy/reliable to propagate either via cuttings, division, or seed. The growing season is short, about 100 days.
Edibles are preferred. Deer resistance is awesome. Biomass production is pretty nifty too.
Elderberry wins a platinum star: edible, hardy, produces suckers (and, as far as I can tell from research, is easy to propagate from cuttings), and apparently doesn't much mind getting mowed to the crown by deer in the winter. (As a special bonus, not invasive in this area either.)
Lupine wins a gold star: easy to grow from seed (even self-reseeds freely), very hardy, fixes nitrogen, deer don't seem to bother them (and they reseed anyway). Not edible (at least not without processing that I'm unwilling to perform). Might have the potential to become invasive, but relatively easy to control.
Peas and oats (part of my favorite cover crop mix) are relatively easy to harvest seed from. Together they produce a lot of biomass and peas fix nitrogen. Peas have the bonus of being edible (more or less; depending on variety); oats are technically edible, but processing is non-trivial. Vetch is nice in this mix, but I've never had luck harvesting much seed; the season may be too short.
Marigolds, cosmos, and calendula are interesting from the perspective that they produce a lot of seed and I could potentially create my own seed mix to broadcast over an area. They're also inviting to beneficials. They're not perennials but are likely to self-reseed once established. (Same story with a lot of flowering annuals; I'm just most familiar with saving seed from these.)
I'm looking for more like these. (Especially if I'm overlooking something that's likely to be present at a friend/neighbor's house where I can take cuttings.)
My goal is to plant an area approx 1.4 ac (62500 sqft, 5800 m2) with a mix of plants -- biomass, N-fixers, edibles, etc -- on a limited budget, over the next couple of years.
(Note that this is the same general location as my stone fruit guild question, but this project is unrelated.)