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Grow your own rice!

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  • Grow your own rice!

    Growing rice at home is easy if you’re not planning on growing enough to sell, just for personal use.

    Get a handful of raw, unprocessed rice – from a health food store or farmer’s market or buy the rice seed. Soak the rice seeds in water for 36 hours. Then drain the seeds and let them dry for 24 hours. Spread 5″ – 6″ of gardening soil into the bottom of a child’s wading pool – a 3′ one that doesn’t have drainage holes punched in it and is in a sunny location. Once you fill it with soi and water, it will be too heavy to move. It should get at least 7 – 8 hours of sunlight.

    Mix and equal amount of compost lightly into the soil. Cover the soil mixture with 4″ – 5″ of water. Sprinkle your seeds evenly over the water, where they will sink and begin to grow.

    Keep the water level at about 4″ – 5″ the whole time the rice is growing.

    Three to four months after the rice is planted, it should be ready to harvest. You’ll know it’s ready when the grain heads bend over and start to turn brown. When this happens, drain the water from the pool (siphon it or punch drainage holes and use it for different vegetables next season – I recommend siphoning if you plan to grow rice again). Let the rice plants dry for a week or two. The hotter it is, the quicker the rice will dry. The rice should turn completely brown.

    Now, all you have to do is husk the rice. Here is a method for husking the rice. And here is another way. There are rumors that the nunchaku were originally used to de-husk rice, and that’s possible, but flailing rice isn’t as easy as that sounds. The oversized, foot-powered mortar and pestle arrangement is easier and less labor intensive to de-husk the rice. De-husking rice isn’t that different from de-husking wheat. You can use this wheat threshing process for rice as well.

    The first de-husking leaves you with brown rice.

    You can further mill the rice to remove the bran, leaving you with white rice. The bran can be used in other dishes and as bedding for hatching baby chicks.

    And there, you’ve grown your own rice.

    Edited to Add: Some people have asked about mosquito problems from the standing water. Personally, because the water evaporates so fast I’m always having to add fresh water (sometimes twice a day!), there hasn’t been any mosquito problems the bats and insect-eating birds haven’t been able to handle. However, I can see where this would be a problem if you don’t have an evaporation issue and are continually replenishing the water. There are two possible solutions (probably more, but I can think of two right away):

    One: Set the rice paddy up as a part of a three tiered water fountain: the first fountain pumps out water that gently flows from it into the rice paddy from one side, the water overflows from the rice paddy into the third container which is sucked up by the first fountain and recycled. Moving water is anathema to mosquitoes. To prevent the water from the other two fountain containers from being wasted space, you can use the top fountain as a bird bath and the third fountain to grow edible water lilies and possibly even cattails. When it’s time to harvest the rice, simply bypass the rice paddy and let the fountain run between itself and the lily pond. This could be used as a pretty centerpiece in your garden. Who says growing food has to be ugly?

    Two: Grow mosquito fish in your rice paddy. Mosquito fish love mosquito larvae. They won’t harm the rice. The issue here is what to do with the mosquito fish when you drain the paddy for harvest. You could capture the mosquito fish and keep them in a stock pond or aquarium until the next rice planting – feeding them, but I much prefer the fountain method. It’s pretty and functional – my two favorite things.

  • #2
    That's absolutely brilliant


    • #3
      Thanks I thought it was a good idea and would make a great summer project. Also another way to keep the bugs out is to use a screen net over it.