How to Grow Rice | Guide to Growing Rice
Binomial Name: Oryza Sativa
Varieties: Japanese Rice (Koshihikari), Brown Rice
Rice, most believe, is one of the oldest foods on the dinner table. Archaeologists can trace it back to about 5000 BC and historians note that it was mentioned in relation to China, where they held annual rice ceremonies, as early as about 2300 BC. They believe that the plant was also native to India and Thailand. Rice came to the West via explorers, soldiers, and traders. It thrived in many climates but not so well in others. Because the plant requires much rainfall shortly after it’s planted in the ground, followed by plenty of hot, sunny weather, some countries – like England - are just not cut out for rice growing. The American South – growing started in the Carolinas, though Arkansas is currently the largest producer - has had much success with cultivating rice as have European countries where the climate is ideal, like parts of Italy and Spain.
Many cultures continue to hold rice in high regard. In Japan and Indonesia, it has its own God. The Chinese devote a whole day of their New Year celebration to the crop. In some Asian cultures, it’s considered a link between Heaven and Earth. India believes rice is important to fertility, and its link to such resulted in the long-standing tradition of throwing rice at a wedding.
Growing Rice in a Container Garden Rice is an unusual and fun plant to grow in your garden or on your porch. The secret to growing rice is that you have to recreate the flooded rice paddy for the rice to thrive in.
Collect all of your clean plastic buckets and empty plastic laundry soap buckets to work in. You do not want to use any container that has holes in the bottom that would let the water out.
Buy some long-grain brown rice from the bulk bins at the grocery store or in a bag. Organically grown rice will reproduce better than some long-grain brown rice, but most kinds seem to have some grains that sprout. Your goal is to find brown long-grain rice that is as close to untouched by machines and chemicals as possible. White rice will not work because it has been processed. Or, you can buy a package of your favorite rice seed from a gardening supply outfit.
Fill your buckets with about 6" of dirt or potting soil. Add water until it is about 2" above the soil level and toss a small handful of your store bought long-grain rice into the bucket; they will sink so that they are lying on top of the dirt under the water.
Rice likes a warm climate, keep your bucket in a sunny area and move it if necessary to a warm place at night. Keep your water level at about 2 inches above the dirt until the rice is growing strong.
When your plants are up to about 5-6 inches, increase your water level to about 4 inches deep. After that, let the water level lower in the bucket slowly over a period of time. You will want the plants just about dry of standing water by the time you are ready to harvest.
Rice is mature somewhere in its fourth month if conditions are right. The stalks will change from green to gold in color when they are ready. To harvest, cut your stalks and let them dry in a warm place, wrapped in a newspaper for 2-3 weeks.
Roast your rice in a very low heat (under 200) for about an hour, and then remove the hulls by hand. You are now ready to cook with your own long-grain brown rice
Harvesting It is the process of gathering a crop. For rice, this generally refers to the cutting and gathering of panicles attached to the stalks. Once the plants have reached full growth (approximately three months after planting) and the grains begin to ripen-the tops begin to droop and the stem yellows-the water is drained from the fields. As the fields dry, the grains ripen further and harvesting is commenced. Depending on the size of the operation and the amount of mechanization, rice is either harvested by hand or machine. The different harvesting systems are as follows :
Manual harvesting makes use of traditional threshing tools such as threshing racks, simple treadle threshers and animals for trampling or by hand using sharp knives or sickles. Manual harvesting and machine threshing
Rice is manually threshed, then cleaned with a machine thresher.
Machine reaping and machine threshing
A reaper cuts and lays the crop in a line. Threshing and cleaning can then be performed manually or by machine.
Combine harvesting - The combine harvester combines all operations: cutting, handling, threshing and cleaning.
To prevent your seed from spoiling, remember to follow these steps:
Select the healthy panicles and save only clean and sorted grains.
Keep seed in airtight containers, and never in gunny sacks or polythene bags.
If the container is an earthenware pot, you can seal its pores with paint or cooking oil inside and outside to make it airtight. Before storage wash and dry the container well.
Fill the container up to the brim. If you don't have enough seed to fill the pot, add very dry sand or puffed rice to fill the empty space. Or light a candle to consume oxygen, so insects won't survive.
You can add dry neem, tobacco or other insect repellent leaves to control insects in storage. Close the container tightly.
Raise the container off the floor to prevent the grains from getting damp and damaged.
Don't forget that correctly stored seed is good seed, and good seed contributes to a good harvest.