Category Archives: Farmland

Iowan’s Plant Natives at Half the Cost Article

Iowan’s are planting native wildflowers and grasses at one half the cost of the seed.  Through a special program and a cooperative effort amongst private growers, Iowa DNR and Pheasants Forever, it is possible to get a voucher to add much diversity to your landscape using species that are native to Iowa.  This is a one of a kind program that benefits everyone involved.  It provides wildlife cover for pheasants, deer, rabbits and a host of beneficial insects including butterflies, moths and many other pollinators.  The natives include such species as Indian Grass and Big Bluestem which root down to enormous depths into the soil which control erosion much better than European imports such as Broom Grass.

Iowa witnessed one of the largest and fastest ecosystem loss in the world as the Tallgrass Prairie was very quickly turned into corn production.  Millions of acres of black rich soil that had been created by the deep-rooted prairie has now vanished.

Thanks to this special Habitat Program created by the  cooperation of Iowa Landowners, Iowa Native Seed Growers, The Iowa DNR and Pheasants Forever, the once lost Tallgrass Prairie is returning to once again replenish precious topsoil and control erosion.

By Howard Bright  http://ionxchange.com/

Earthyman Article: Behold the Natural Beauty but Don’t Compare or Curse the Burdock

In Western traditions we are constantly comparing one thing to the other.  Which do you like better… brown or blue eyes, basketball or football,  chicken or fish?  Nature did not give us all the glorious scenes to judge one place or species over the other.  Why does one thing have to be better than another?   Think about it.  When we compare or try to make one thing better than another, our minds leave the natural beauty of the entity and go to a place of judgement and diminish the innate qualities of that which is being analyzed.

More examples that nature puts before us to admire but get turned around occur in the plant world.   One such example is the Common Burdock, known as a terrible weed, ugly and a plague for horses’ manes and tails.  Soon, a hatred is built up regarding this plant.  What did “The Great Spirit” have in mind when the Burdock was born into existence?  Certainly it is well equipped to survive as the seed heads cling to any thing that brushes up against it .  It is even more tenacious than velcro which by the way was invented as this natural clinging trait of Burdock was copied by man.  Certainly if we were hungry or starving we could dig the roots of Burdock and survive by eating them.

If we look closely to the flower of the Burdock, it holds its own natural beauty but it is not considered as a prize wildflower possession by any landscaper or gardener.  Truly the beauty is lost as we curse the power that the Burdock has over us.  We wage war against it by digging it, spraying it and killing it anyway that we can.  Can we change these natural traits or is “The Great Spirit” trying to tell us something?  When did we start to complain about this plant?  The more we complained, the more we got.  Right?  Nature’s signs go unheeded and the Burdock serves as a red flag that something isn’t right with the harmony of our use of the land.  As an early indicator, it makes itself obvious as we overgraze our pastures and pay no attention to the overuse of them.  Those who heed the warning sign back away and start treating the land with more respect and the Burdock starts to diminish over time.

Burdock is not less than, more than or uglier than.  It just is, so appreciate your football or basketball for what it is and as we adjust our lives to look beneath the surface and accept all diversity as beautiful in its own light.

Howard Bright

http://ionxchange.com/

hbright@acegroup.cc

Comment On Earthyman’s Best Butterfly Plant Video of Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) at Ion Exchange, Inc., in Northeast Iowa

Comment on You Tube from mrilovetheants:   Loads of Monarchs there, and what looks to be a Great Spangled Fritillary at1:55 middle left. Those aren’t that common, you must have lots of Violets in your forest.

Response from http://ionxchange.com/ Yes, we have lots of violets at our woodland edge.

Earthyman views the best butterfly plant at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa. Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) will attract butterflies to your prairie perennial garden. Blazingstar is a perennial prairie wildflower

To Purchase This Beautiful Butterfly Plant Visit Us At http://ionxchange.com/products/LIATRIS-LIGULISTYLIS-%7C-Meadow-Blazingstar.html

Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture Article

Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture

Help UCS Set the Record Straight by Sharing Our New Ad Campaign

Monsanto’s advertisements tell an impressive tale of the agribusiness giant’s achievements: Feeding a growing population. Protecting natural resources. Promoting biodiversity.

It sounds wonderful, but unfortunately, there’s a catch: These claims are often exaggerated, misleading or downright false. Monsanto’s products—and the practices they promote—may sustain the company’s profits, but the evidence shows that they stand in the way of truly sustainable solutions to our food and farming challenges.

In the ads below, we counter Monsanto’s feel-good rhetoric with some facts gleaned from UCS analysis. Share them with friends, and spread the word: when it comes to healthy farming, Monsanto fails!

(Click on the images to see full-size versions.)

#1: More Herbicide + Fewer Butterflies = Better Seeds?

Monsanto Says: “In the hands of farmers, better seeds can help meet the needs of our rapidly growing population, while protecting the earth’s natural resources.”

In Fact: Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, genetically engineered to tolerate the company’s Roundup herbicide,increased herbicide use by an estimated 383 million pounds between 1996 and 2008. And Monarch butterflies have laid 81 percent fewer eggs thanks to habitat loss since Roundup Ready was introduced.

#2: A Bumper Crop of Superweeds

Monsanto Says: “Our rapidly growing population is putting limited resources–such as land, water, and energy–under increased pressure.”

In Fact: The challenge is real, but Monsanto’s products aren’t the answer. UCS analysis shows that GE crops have so far done little to improve yields in the U.S. Meanwhile—speaking of rapidly growing populations—overuse of Roundup Ready crops has spawned an epidemic of “superweeds,” causing huge problems for U.S. farmers.

#3: All Wet on Drought Tolerance

Monsanto Says: “With the right tools, farmers can conserve more for future generations.”

In Fact: If farmers want to conserve more water, Monsanto’s DroughtGard corn isn’t the right tool. A recent UCS study found that DroughtGard won’t help farmers reduce water use—and its engineered drought tolerance will likely only be useful in moderate drought conditions. (Research has shown that organic farming methods could improve drought-year yields by up to 96%.)

Article Taken From Union Of Concerned Scientists Website

http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/impacts_genetic_engineering/monsanto-fails-at-improving.html

http://ionxchange.com/

Earthyman views Swamp Milkweed – Asclepias incarnata in full bloom in production field at Ion Exchange, Inc in NE Iowa. This is a prairie plant that is adaptable to many sites and attracts butterflies.

Swamp Milkweed provides beautiful Pink Blooms for your Prairie Garden.  It attracts many butterflies and will even grow in Swamps or well drained soil.  It Blooms the First Year the Plugs are planted and also Produces many seeds.

http://ionxchange.com/

To Purchase Click On Link Below

http://ionxchange.com/products/ASCLEPIAS-INCARNATA-%7C-Swamp-Milkweed.html

Ion Exchange Video of Our Modern Irrigation System For Watering Our Plants In The Field

Earthyman is watering his plants in the pasture using his 1975 Chevy Truck

http://ionxchange.com/

Pollinator Week Is June 18 – 24 2012 Ion Exchange, Inc. Purchase Your Pollinator Seed Mix Now

Pollinator Week is June 18th to 24th!
Plant a garden that butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees will love as much as you!

http://ionxchange.com/products/POLLINATOR-MIX.html

Product Description

POLLINATOR SEED MIX

 

SPECIES PLS/LB

Big Bluestem 6.53
Golden Alexanders 0.25
Blue Vervain 0.15
Alumroot 0.02
Black-eyed Susan 0.44
Common Mt. Mint 0.01
Common Spiderwort 0.17
Foxglove Beardtongue 0.02
Ironweed 0.12
Maryland Senna 0.80
Fragrant Coneflower 0.10
Great Bue Lobelia 0.01
Purple Prairie Clover 0.15
Hoary Vervain 0.10
Swamp Milkweed 0.29
9.16

Pollination by Native Bees

According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, there are over 4000 species of native bees in the U.S. alone. Bees are the most predominant pollinators of flowering plants in nature, thus contributing a vital service to the ecosystem. Bees are referred to as “keystone organisms” because of this important role.

Some native bees have names that reflect how they build nests—leafcutter bees, mason bees, miner bees, carpenter bees, digger bees, etc.  Others are named for their behavior, which include bumble bees, sweat bees, and cuckoo bees. In addition, some bees are named for the types of plants they pollinate such as squash, sunflower and blueberry bees.

When honey bees are in short supply, the pollination needs of many crops can be filled by native bees. Research reflects that native bees can be major pollinators of agricultural crops and sometimes do the job more efficiently. For instance, the blue orchard bee is a primary pollinator of cultivated apples. Another important crop pollinator is the western bumble bee, which has been used to pollinate cranberries, avocadoes, and blueberries. Native squash bees are major pollinators of cultivated squashes. Some native bees are even commercially managed like honey bees to provide pollination services.   Great news for Iowa native plants and pollinators!

 

CRP Wildlife Food Plots

CRP wildlife food plot options now allow a food plot consisting of all native grasses and forbs.  Unlike traditional grain food plots, now additional pollen and nectar will be available.  Futhermore, a native food plot will not be disked and replanted every year or every other year like the alternative grain food plots. Thus, bees utilizing ground burrows will benefit!

http://ionxchange.com

 

Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem | North American Prairies |

North American Prairies/Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher

Tallgrass prairies once covered over 170 million acres (69 million hectares) of North America. They were a sea of waving grasses that stretched from the western edge of Indiana into eastern Kansas and from Saskatchewan, Canada, into the northern regions of Texas.

Our Amazine Planet Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem

Howard Bright “Earthyman” Commented on This Article
Picture the corn and soybean fields stretching for miles across the horizon.  Now replace this scene with a sea of wildflowers and grasses.  As the wind blows and you look straight out onto the edge of the horizon , witness an ocean of undulating textures and colors making huge waves blowing across the vast landscape.  Goose bumps form on my arms as I am once again with the great spirit that made this land and I am witness to a virtual native landscape vision.  Perhaps my Native American blood can sense this feeling as maybe I used to roam these lands hunting buffalo and using many of the plants for food and medicine.
Ion Exchange, Inc.
1878 Old Mission Dr.
Harpers Ferry, IA 52146-7533

Baling Prairie Spiderwort at Ion Exchange Video

Planting Native Wildflowers Spring Bloomers Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Sun Exposure Prairie
Soil Moisture Wet, Wet Mesic
Bloom Time Spring, Early Summer
May, June July
Bloom Color Green
Height 2 feet
Wetland Code OBL
Germ Code C(60)
Seeds Per Packet 300
Seeds Per Ounce 6,600

 

Native Americans chewed the root or made a tea from the dried root for treating gas, stomachaches, indigestion, heartburn, fevers, colds, and coughs; anti-spasmodic, anti-conversant,  central nervous system depressant; in India it has been used for many years as an aphrodisiac. They also chewed the root to stave off thirst and as a stimulant on long journeys.

German studies showed the controlled dosages of the root helped lower serum cholesterol levels in rabbits.

In Appalachia, freshly cut leaves are still used as an insecticide.

The inner portions of the tender young shoots make a very tasty Spring salad. The Pennsylvania Dutch used the root to flavor pickles and the powdered root has been used to make cachets and scent perfumes.

 

Edible Uses:
The rhizome is candied and made into a sweetmeat. It can be peeled and washed to remove the bitterness and then eaten raw like a fruit. It makes a palatable vegetable when roasted and can also be used as a flavouring. Rich in starch, the root contains about 1% of an essential oil that is used as a food flavouring. The root also contains a bitter glycoside. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity.

The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavour and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The young and tender inflorescence is often eaten by children for its sweetness. Young leaves – cooked. The fresh leaves contain 0.078% oxalic acid. The leaves can be used to flavour custards in the same way as vanilla pods.

The inner portion of young stems is eaten raw. It makes a very palatable salad.

Medicinal Uses:
Sweet flag has a very long history of medicinal use in many herbal traditions. It is widely employed in modern herbal medicine as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic. In Ayurveda it is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders. However, some care should be taken in its use since some forms of the plant might be carcinogenic – see the notes on toxicity for more information.

The root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc. It is said to have wonderfully tonic powers of stimulating and normalizing the appetite. In small doses it reduces stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions and it is, therefore, recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. However if the dose is too large it will cause nausea and vomiting.

Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia. An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion whilst chewing the root alleviates toothache. It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc. Chewing the root is said to kill the taste for tobacco.

Roots 2 – 3 years old are used since older roots tend to become tough and hollow. They are harvested in late autumn or early spring and are dried for later use. The dry root loses 70% of its weight, but has an improved smell and taste. It does, however, deteriorate if stored for too long.

Caution is advised on the use of this root, especially in the form of the distilled essential oil, since large doses can cause mild hallucinations. See also the notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and disorders of the gall bladder.

Warning! – Some species are thought to contain the carcinogen beta-asarone. Vapors from the roots do repel some insects. The root, when candied, was a long-time pioneer confection. It was boiled all day long, cut into small pieces, and then boiled again for a few more minutes in thick maple syrup. This “candy” was used most often used to aid digestion, but also used to serve as a tonic and physic.

Sweet Flag