How to Cultivate Rice

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Rice Growing in a Home Garden
Rice Growing in a Home Garden (Image: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/23/38490207_5fc512435d_m.jpg)

Records of rice cultivation date back over 4,000 years and rice is still the main food for over half of the world's population. Rice is a growing staple in many countries--Americans eat twice as much rice today as they did 25 years ago. In other countries, however, rice has become so much a part of the population's diet that the word for rice is the same word for food. Rice, which is grown in over 100 countries and on every continent, thrives under extremely wet and warm conditions, whether being grown in home gardens or in large rice paddies. The two methods are very similar, as they only vary in scale and location. Follow these directions to cultivate rice in your own garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic Buckets (at least 10 inches deep)
  • Brown Rice/Rice Seeds
  • Dirt or Soil
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Oven
  • Compost (optional)

Collect and clean large plastic buckets. These containers should not have holes in the bottom--they need to be able to hold water. Ideally, these buckets should be at least 10 inches deep.

Purchase long-grain brown rice from the grocery store or packaged rice seeds from a gardening supply store. White grain will not work, because the bran has been removed. The less contact your rice/seeds have had with chemicals or machines the better they will grow. Buy organic if possible.
Soak the rice in water for about 36 hours to prepare them for potting. After this period, remove the seeds from the water and dry them for a full 24 hours.

Create a 6-inch layer of dirt and potting soil in the bottom of your buckets. Mixing compost into the soil will improve its quality. Next, add water until it sits about 2 inches above the soil. Grab a handful of the rice and sprinkle it around the bucket. You do not need to bury the rice--it will sink through the layer of water to the top of the soil.

Keep your rice buckets constantly warm or they will not grow. You may have to move them to follow the sun throughout the months. Avoid allowing the temperature of the buckets to fall below 55 degrees F. You will also need to maintain the water level at about 2 to 3 inches above the soil.

Increase the water level to 4 inches once the plants grow to about 6 inches. This will be the last time you add water. Allow the existing water to slowly evaporate until the rice is ready to harvest about 90 to 120 days after seeding the soil--at this point, the plants should be dry.

Around the fourth month, the rice will be mature enough to harvest. The best indicator that your plants are ready is that they will change from green to gold in color. Additionally, the grain heads will start to bend over at the top. After you see this, cut the stalks and wrap them in a newspaper. Store the newspaper in a warm dry place for about 2 to 3 weeks. In this time, the plant should turn completely brown.

Place the grains in an oven. Set the heat to about 200 degrees and roast the rice for about 1 hour. Remove the outer husk by hand. The resulting product will be long-grain brown rice.

Tips & Warnings

  • To grow rice in a field, follow all the same fundamentals of growing rice in buckets. You will need to prepare the field by plowing and flooding. Follow the same time table and water levels.
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