Tag Archives: Habitat

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/

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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/

Pollinator Week Is June 18 – 24 2012 Ion Exchange, Inc. Purchase Your Pollinator Plant Kit 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-PLANT-KIT.html

Product Description

Take steps to help our pollinator populations thrive. By supporting pollinators’ need for habitat, we support our own needs for food and support diversity in the natural world.

This beautiful native Pollinator Plant Kit will not only provide color throughout the seasons but will also benefit bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.  It consists of 84 plants; 7 each of the following species:

  • Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
  • Solidago speciosa (Showy Goldenrod)
  • Tradescantia ohiensis (Ohio Spiderwort)
  • Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop)
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum (Mt. Mint)
  • Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster)
  • Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazingstar)
  • Liatris liguilistylis (Meadow Blazingstar)
  • Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue)
  • Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia)
  • Eupatorium maculatum (Joe-pye Weed)
  • Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine)

Special Bonuses are Included:

(1) Pollinator App. and

(2) Downloadable Pollinator Guide

“Farming feeds the world, and we must remember that pollinators are a critical link to our food system” –  Paul Growald, Co-Founder, Pollinator Partnership

Did you know that domestic honey bees pollinate approximately $10 billion worth of crops in the U.S. each year?

Both native pollinators and domesticated bee populations are declining and are threatened by habitat loss, disease, and excessive and/or inappropriate use of pesticides.

Commercial bees lost to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) highlights how
severe the issues of proper hive management are to reduce stresses caused
by disease, pesticide use, insufficient nutrition, and transportation practices.

http://ionxchange.com

Using Native Planting to Encourage Wildlife

By Geoff Wakeling Platinum Quality Author

If you are planning on creating a wildlife garden, one of the best planting options is to include native species. At the very least you should attempt to include a range of ornamental strains developed from native specimens. Plants which are naturally growing in a region will often thrive in gardens as they are already adapted to the environment in which they are growing. This therefore means that they require less work to maintain, in addition to providing insects, birds, mammals and other creatures with a natural transition from wild habitat to carefully managed garden.

There a number of ways for including native planting in your garden depending on the space that you aspire to have. If you don’t mind having a slightly wild area, let nature take its course and as plants self seed themselves allow them to grow. This could be a small area of meadow which is allowed to thrive, a patch of nettles in a corner, or the sporadic growing of plants throughout a border. Plants such as borridge and forget-me-nots can look very pretty before going over, and can fit into a border quite well. Weeds are all in a gardeners perception, and are simply plants which have grown, in your mind, in the wrong place. Allowing the odd ‘weed’ to grow can be beneficial for wildlife, especially insects that will naturally be drawn to native plants that they visit every day. Leaving a wild patch of native planting is ideally the best way to encourage wildlife into your garden, and if you have room it is the best option.

If you prefer to garden through a more maintained method and do not want to incorporate a wild patch of naturally growing vegetation in your garden, the best option is to try and include ornamental varieties of wild plants. In some cases this can actually be more beneficial to wildlife, with some propagated specimens having larger flowers and more nectar for creatures to feast upon. All plants have fundamentally been bred from naturally occurring specimens, so finding species native to your area should not be hard. Foxgloves, ornamental nettles, roses, and thornless blackberries are all examples of plants which have been developed into ornamental plants and are commonly used in gardens around the world even though some may look far removed from their native counterparts. However, their use in wildlife gardens will provide the ideal transition as creatures move from a natural habitat to a managed one. Meanwhile, by utilising plants which are native to your area, you can help ensure that gardens will thrive in their environment, taking less time to maintain, and providing wildlife with a welcome home from home.

If you want to learn more about becoming a green fingered horticulturist and enjoying your own garden and allotment head over to http://www.theguidetogaygardening.com for more information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Geoff_Wakeling

Wildlife Gardening

by: http://www.wildflower.org
You can make your garden more attractive to birds, insects and small mammals in a variety of ways. Minor changes such as mowing less frequently can increase the number of non-human visitors to your yard, no matter its size.

A wildlife garden should provide for basic animal needs such as food, shelter and water. Diversity is the key to creating an optimum habitat. A diverse habitat attracts a wider variety of species, offers more choices for forage and shelter and ensures a constant food supply. Ideally, a garden should offer a mixture of meadow, woods and wet areas, but you can create hiding places and feeding areas without drastically changing your yard’s character.

FOOD SOURCES
Your yard will attract different types of animals as the seasons change. Migratory species have different foraging needs than residential, non-migratory species. Larval stages of insects (such as caterpillars) often feed on completely different plants, or parts of plants, from what the adults prefer.
Watch birds and butterflies in the wild or on untended land to discover their food preferences. Select plants that maximize flowering and fruiting. Nectar-rich wildflowers are more nutritious for wildlife than showy cultivars, which often are sterile. Color attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Hummingbirds prefer bright red and orange flowers, while butterflies seem to select yellow, purple, blue, pink, and occasionally red flowers. Members of the composite family, such as goldenrods, sunflowers and thistles are good nectar sources for butterflies, and later form seedheads that attract goldfinches and other songbirds.
Be sure to include trees and shrubs with berries to provide winter forage for birds and small mammals. Vines and grasses provide food and nesting materials. Other provisions you can offer residential or transient wildlife include pollen, fungi and sap from native plants or compost.

SHELTER SOURCES
Try to create a layered effect when planning shelter for wildlife. Wooded areas should include overlapping canopies of trees, shrubs and forbs. The edges of woods are usually rich with wildlife because the cover protects them from predators and the elements.
When designing shelter areas, shrubs may be more important than trees because they grow faster and provide nesting sites for many different species. To provide maximum cover, curb your pruning impulses! Though dense shrubbery, tangled vines and dead-standing trees may contradict your image of an orderly yard, they create ideal nesting and forage sites.
Even in a small yard, a single tree or a few vines can provide shelter for nesting wrens or blackbirds, as well as cover for snails and butterflies. Don’t overlook what’s underfoot – brush piles, hollow logs, and compost piles offer a host of micro-habitats for many organisms.

WATER SOURCES
A significant portion of wildlife activity centers around water. A water source such as a small pond provides a home for amphibians and aquatic insects, a bathtub for birds and drinking water for all kinds of creatures. Many insects have aquatic larval stages, so they need to be near water. Migrating wildlife need convenient water sources along their seasonal routes. On the smallest scale, even a birdbath is a valuable addition to your garden or yard.

Once you allow wildlife into your garden, you must allow nature a bit of freedom in ruling it. As Chris Baines, an innovative British landscaper, notes, the secret of a successful wildlife garden depends on understanding the way in which your various gardening activities will distort the balance. Try to minimize disturbance. Refrain from using herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides, which adversely affect the delicately balanced interactions between organisms and their environment. Allowing your garden more autonomy will leave you plenty of time to observe, enjoy and learn from your creation.

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