Growing Rice At Home: Learn How To Grow Rice
The first thing to do when growing rice at home is to choose a location where you want your rice plants to grow. There are many different types of locations that can be used for growing rice.
Some places have better soil than others. Soil type, moisture content, temperature and so forth all play a role in determining whether or not a particular place will work well for growing rice. If you don’t like the idea of growing rice in a certain location, then you may need to change your mind about what kind of area you would like to grow rice in.
There are several factors that go into deciding which location is best for growing rice. These include but are not limited to:
What kind of soil do I have? What kind of rainfall do I get? Do I live near water sources? Will my soil drain well?
How big am I willing to make my rice plants? Are there any other crops that could compete with them? Can I afford to buy new equipment every time I want to increase the size of my farm?
Do I have access to enough sunlight during the day and enough shade at night? Is it possible for me to grow rice without irrigation (rainfall)?
How many people do I want to feed? How much money do I have to grow the rice? What kind of community support do I have?
There are many other factors that go into this decision, but for now it’s important to just pick something at random. Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s time to prepare it for planting.
Preparing The Field:
The first thing that needs to be decided is the size of the field. The size of your field will be different from everyone else’s because it depends on the size of your growing area.
For this guide, we will assume you are starting small and have only enough space for a five foot by five foot area. To begin, you will need to clear away any weeds, grass and other debris that may be in the area you have chosen. If you haven’t been able to remove all of the grass, don’t worry. We will deal with that later. After you have your space cleared, you need to break up the soil. This can be done by hand or hoe, depending on how large your growing area is. If you are starting small like we are here, then hoeing should be fine.
After breaking up the soil, take a good look at it.
Is it rocky? Did you break up big rocks with the hoe?
If so, this will not do for growing rice. Rice needs soil that is soft and loose. If your soil is rocky or hard packed, it can easily be fixed. What you need to do is cover the area you plan to grow your rice with a thick layer of leaves and grass clippings. Try to use green leaves and clippings, but if you can’t find any, then dried ones will do. After you have the layer of organic material covering your soil, dump a good amount of water on it. If it’s hot outside the water will evaporate fairly quickly. This is good because it will allow heat to build under the mulch from the sun. Once the area is wet, take a shovel and begin turning the soil. The organic material will break down and turn into mold as it break up the hard soil underneath. Keep turning over the soil every couple of days and adding more organic material until you have broken up all the rocks in the soil. You can also use a pick or crowbar to break up the bigger rocks if you find any. After the rocks are broken up, take some time to crush them into a finer consistency. This will ensure that your soil has been thoroughly aerated.
In our next segment, we will cover preparing and planting your seeds!
What You Will Need:
Here is a list of things you will need to grow your own five-foot by five-foot field of rice.
You will need a five foot by five foot area to properly grow rice. In some areas, you may be able to find paddy fields that are divided into one acre plots, giving you a place to grow your rice without having to clear an area yourself.
If you can find these, then by all means use them!
If you are planting in an area that is not man made, such as a paddy field, then you will need to acquire rice seed from the wild. This can be done by collecting heads of wild rice and stripping them of their kernels.
The wild rice seed can then be cleaned by spreading it out in the sun for several days. If you do this in the fall, then you will have seed ready to plant in the spring.
If you are planting in a man made field, such as one that has been unused for a year or two, then you can often find good quality seed at a local feed and seed store.
You will need several tools to grow your rice. These tools can all be found at a local farm supply store, although a few of them can also be improvised.
You will need a good hoe. The best is a rice hoe that has a long slender blade with a piece of wood as a grip.
A round disk attachment on the tip of the blade helps slice under weeds and breaks them up so they can be hoed out later. If you are unable to get this tool, try to find one that has the same features but with a flat blade, or improvise and use a large knife or shovel.
You will also need a shovel and a rake. While a regular sized shovel will work, it may be hard to use for long periods of time.
A smaller sized child’s shovel should make the process much easier. A rake will also come in handy, as it is used in the final stages of preparing the soil.
You will need a seed drill and some small mesh bags to hold the seeds while you plant them. If you can’t get these items, it can still be done without, although it will be more time consuming.
You will need several bags of sterilized soil to plant your seeds in. If there is a local place that sells bagged soil that has been sterilized, such as a plant nursery or a lumber yard that has a soil testing lab on site, then that is the best place to get your soil from.
If you can’t find bagged sterilized soil, you can make it yourself by taking regular soil and baking it in your oven at 350 degrees for one hour. This kills all plant life in the soil, making it safe to plant in.
You should mix the soil with an equal amount of vermiculite to help retain moisture and keep the soil fluffy.
You will need to find a suitable place to plant your rice. This should be full sun most of the day, and safe from flooding or strong winds.
A location near a water source would also be helpful, as you will need to keep the plants watered until they are large enough to fend for themselves.
Once you have found the perfect place to grow your rice, it’s time to prepare the soil.
Planting your seeds is quite easy. Once you have your soil ready to go, it’s just a matter of making sure you plant the rice at the right depth and distance apart.
After sifting the soil through a fine mesh screen, you are ready to plant.
Sift a layer of soil into a flat that is 8 inches deep. This will be the bottom layer of your rice paddy, so make it a good 6 by 8 foot rectangular area to work with.
Your seeds will be going on top of this layer, so you need to mix the seeds in with the soil. If there are large clumps of soil, break them up by hand so you have a nice even layer of soil mixed with rice seeds.
Water this layer well, and then move on to the next layer.
Continue to repeat this process until you have a nice stack of layers completed. It is very important that the layers are not too thick, or the plants will not be able to grow up through them, and too thin and the plants will not have enough nutrients.
A good rule of thumb is that each layer should be no more than 3 inches thick, and you will need a minimum of six layers.
If you are planting more than one variety of rice, make sure that they are mixed in together throughout the layers. This will ensure a good crop.
Also, after the final layer, be sure to gently poke each seed with a finger so that just the very tip is below the surface. The rice plant needs this tip to grow, so you do not want to cover it up too much. After this, just gently water the paddy as you water your garden.
In order to ensure a healthy crop of rice, you will need to keep the paddy free from weeds and maintain the water level. Early on, there are not many weeds to pull, but by mid summer there will be plenty.
Weeds at this stage can easily suck all the nutrients out of the soil before your rice has a chance to mature. It is best to pull the weeds by hand, but a hoe will do the job if necessary.
The other major part of caring for your paddy is to keep the water level up. The plants need just enough water to keep them moist, but you don’t want them sitting in waterlogged soil.
Add water as needed, and by September your rice should be ready for harvest.
The best time to harvest your rice is in the morning, as the moisture in the plants tends to lessen evening and nighttime humidity. At the time of harvesting, you want to dry your rice.
This will ensure that it keeps a long time and does not develop mold or weevils. Hang the rice in a dark dry place with good airflow. A root cellar or an attic works well for this purpose.
Once the rice is dry you can take it down and transfer it to a cannister or other container for storage. Rice will keep almost indefinitely in this manner, and you can use it whenever you need it.
If this endeavor turns out to be a success, then in the spring I will expand into growing more crops. My daughter Mary wants to try her hand at raising ducks.
We shall see…
posted by Living Arrows on 10.26.08
You can’t wait to try out your new boots. They are just like the pair Papa wore when he took you fishing years ago.
You remember staying all day in the cold water, Papa laughing, and catching a big fish.
You haven’t been fishing for years. Mama says there isn’t time for such things.
You’re glad to be able to go today.
Mary packs you a lunch of bread and cheese. She also gives you her old doll to use as a fishing pole.
Mama says you are both not to be back too late, but other than that it’s okay to have fun on this fine Sunday.
You head down to the river where Papa taught you to fish all those years ago. It’s colder than you expected; Mama was right about the boots.
You’re glad you remembered your coat. You try to make a fire, but the wood is too wet. You’ll just have to be patient and wait for it to dry.
You sit by the river, casting your line. Other families are here too, having fun just like you.
You watch their lines with envy. If only yours would catch a big one!
You must have sat there a couple hours before you get a bite. You’ve never known the river be this slow.
You try to keep the line still, but the fish manages to break away.
You watch the other families having fun and get jealous.
Why won’t your line catch anything?
Papa always said you had the best luck, so many fishing trips that he couldn’t keep count. You don’t understand why it isn’t working now.
You quickly pack up your stuff and stomp home. Mama asks if you caught anything and you lie and say yes.
You go to your room and sulk. You wish you could go back to the river.
Your boots are old and falling apart. Maybe that’s why they didn’t work this time.
You throw them in the corner and go to bed.
You wake up to Mama’s voice. She is yelling at Papa, saying you went off with the wrong boots.
You jump out of bed and run to see what happened.
Mama is angry. Papa’s old, torn boots are on the floor.
You reach down and touch them; they are still damp from yesterday.
Papa doesn’t say anything, he just sits there with a black eye.
You run outside and look for footprints in the dirt. You find fresh ones leading down to the river and follow them as fast as you can.
You hear Mama call out to you, but you just run faster.
The river is empty except for a few birds and leaves. You follow the river until it empties into the ocean.
Papa never could have swam that far.
You sit down near the shore and let the ocean’s waves hit your feet. Papa is gone, and you’ll never see him again.
“You’re the luckiest boy in the world, and you don’t even know it.” He used to say that all the time.
If you’re so lucky, why didn’t your boots work? Why didn’t you keep up with Papa?
The ocean wasn’t kind to him. It took him far away, never to return. You can still see his footprints in the sand, but they are quickly washed away by the tide.
You reach down and pick up a small shell. You could trade this for food at the store.
Mama would be proud of you for being so resourceful. You put it in your pocket and head home.
You’ve always been the lucky one. Even after Papa died, you had enough luck to make it home alive.
You’ll be sure to cherish it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Introduction of the system of rice intensification in Kenya: experiences from Mwea irrigation scheme by BM Mati, R Wanjogu, B Odongo, PG Home – Paddy and Water …, 2011 – Springer
Evaluating the benefits of organic farming in rice agroecosystems in the Philippines by TC Mendoza – Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 2004 – Taylor & Francis
Panicle-SEG: a robust image segmentation method for rice panicles in the field based on deep learning and superpixel optimization by X Xiong, L Duan, L Liu, H Tu, P Yang, D Wu, G Chen… – Plant Methods, 2017 – Springer
African rice (Oryza glaberrima): history and future potential by OF Linares – Proceedings of the National Academy of …, 2002 – National Acad Sciences