June 17, 2019

Upland Rice Growing Update

I gave you a little peek at my rice in my last post (Living in the Shadow of the Rain), but so many folks expressed an interest in this project that I thought I'd give you an update in pictures.

My two beds of rice: Loto in front & Cho Seun Zo Saeng behind.

This is upland rice, which doesn't require paddies to grow. You can read more about it in my "Grain Growing: Upland Rice" post.

Cho Seun Zo Saeng, a short grain brown rice.

Loto, an Italian risotto rice.

The plant in the middle of the bed is a volunteer cucumber.

With clover ground cover.

I left it because I rarely have the heart to pull volunteers. They always seem to be the hardiest of what grows in my garden.

I've been diligent to water and weed both beds. Of the two, the Cho Seun seems to be doing better.

Cho Seun Zo Saeng on the right, Loto on the left.

It is a taller growing variety, but it's greener and leafier than the Loto, which seems to be struggling more. That may be due to variety preferences, or because the soil in the Loto bed isn't as good. I'm not really sure.

I planted white Dutch clover as a ground cover in both beds, but it's been sporadic in growing. Still, it will add some nitrogen to the soil as well as shade it.

Clover ground cover.

Clover doesn't like hot dry weather, so it benefits from my frequent watering too.

The only other challenge will be keeping birds from devouring the grain before I can harvest! Some netting might be in order for that.


Gorges Smythe said...

Interesting! Never heard of upland rice.

Retired Knitter said...

Funny - the things that I eat and never give a thought to how the plants looks or grows. Rice is one of those things.

Leigh said...

Gorges, I hadn't either until I started researching rice growing. I always assumed it needed flooding. Glad I was wrong!

RT, I know what you mean. We really like rice so I always assumed if SHTF, then we'd either have to use stored rice or do without. It's a treat to be able to grow it!

Fiona said...

I am following your rice closely.....we eat quite a bit of it and it would be super to grow it. We have the space. Do you think humidity helps it in dry weather? We have an area near the pond that might work out.
Thank you for being the experimental farmer you are.
God Bless you both.

Ed said...

Thanks for the update.

Ditto on volunteers. Some of our best vegetables have been grown in our compost pile!

Cockeyed Jo said...

So what's the expected harvest?

Leigh said...

Fiona, I really don't know much about the growing habits of rice. The seller (https://www.sherckseeds.com/ states that he raises seed for northern climates, so this is an experiment for me. That's why I'm pampering it! He does states that upland rice likes rich soil and at least one inch of rain per week.

Ed, best producers with healthiest plants!

Jo, the seller's results were about 10 pounds per 100 square feet for the Loto, and 16 pounds per 100 square feet for the Cho Seun. Each of my beds is approximately 64 square feet, so I expect less than that. If it goes well I'll save most of it for next summer's seed. But of course we'll definitely sample our harvest!

Rose said...

It is looking good! I will watch to see how it goes.

Quinn said...

I feel the same way about volunteers - I may transplant them to another spot if absolutely necessary, but I really appreciate their "attitude"!

Leigh said...

Rose, it is pretty neat. I'm so hoping it will be a success!

Quinn, I would love to have an entire garden of volunteers! Last year's seemed to have the least trouble with pests and disease. I'm hoping it's the same again.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, I would strongly recommend netting. I always lose my grains to birds if I do not.

The Wykeham Observer said...

The rice looks promising. It will be fun to see the results later on!

Leigh said...

TB, I really do need to get a workable bird netting system set up. Birds are the reason I'm never able to harvest sunflower seeds. I really don't want to lose my rice as well.

Phil, thanks! If it doesn't dry up I'm hoping it will do well.

Kris said...

It's been such a loooooong rainy spring here in NE Ohio. I would not have ANY trouble growing the type of rice that needs paddies! Your upland crop is looking good. Wish I could share some of this rainfall 'bounty'. Ta!

wyomingheart said...

Thanks Leigh for the rice update! We are still researching, so thanks for the link too!

Kelly said...

How interesting to see that you're growing rice! We had several rice farms in the Arkansas delta for 30 years, but finally sold the last a few years ago.

Sometimes those volunteer plants are the best. I had some cherry tomato volunteers a couple of years running that I could hardly keep up with as far as picking and eating. If only the avocado trees that sprout in my compost pile would do so well.

Leigh said...

Kris, I would love it if you could send me some rain! Such a shame with either get too much or too little!

Wyomingheart, I think it's worth trying at least. Grains are easy to grow, hard to process, and it's fun to eat your own.

Kelly, if they were in the delta then I'm guessing they were flooded fields. I was thrilled to find types of rice that don't need that. Hopefully it will grow well in my climate!

I agree about those avacado trees. I kept one alive in a pot for a number of years, but it never flowered. :(

Rain said...

That's really cool Leigh! I can't wait to see your harvest!

Leigh said...

Rain, let's just hope I have one! lol

Unknown said...

I am concerned about the Grand Solar Minimum and how it is reducing global temperatures, so I am looking for food plants that will tolerate cooler conditions in the future.
I want to find a Hulless variety of upland rice.
I found hulless varieties of barley and oats, and bought several pounds for my own "seed bank".
For those of you who never heard about the GSM, it is a well known, repeating cycle of reduced solar output that occurs about every 400 years, and regularly causes starvation, regime changes, etc.
Growing zones change as well as rainfall regions and patterns.

Leigh said...

Unknown, I agree that the science pointing strongly to an upcoming Grand Solar Minimum is very strong. I sometimes wonder if that isn't why we ended up so far south, with our current scorching summers.

I don't know if there's a hulless variety of upland rice, just easier to hull (AFAIK). If you find one, please let me know!