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Backyard Rice Optimism

July 23, 2012

The grain is really visible now on the rice (I suppose that I’ll need to consider how and when I am going to harvest it now.)

From the end of the “paddy”, you can really see how the plants have developed. Each seed created a mall single stalk when sprouted; once rooted the plants put up several additional stalks. With each plant now comprised of at least 8 or 10 stalks it would appear that I planted multiple seeds in each spot and never bothered to thin them.

And from the back side the stalks remain surprisingly upright and don’t lean much to the “openness” around the edges as one might expect:

A closer look shows that each of the stalks will have a single cluster of seeds (“the panicle”) with no branching at all up the stalk.

How will I know when the rice is ready to harvest?

I’ve found several resources on the web, the most comprehensive being the Cereal Knowledgebank co-sponsored by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The main rice page is here.

Fortunately this resource covers methods of harvest and processing ranging from using state of the art industrialized equipment all the way down to the barest of manual labor. Several of the photographs include participants who most definitely qualify as this “barest of manual labor” in that they aren’t in closed toe shoes or are barefoot. While my processing techniques will fall into this “BML” category, for the record I do intend on wearing my boots.

OK, so when to harvest? According to this great IRRI reference page, when “80—85% of the grains are straw (i.e., yellow-colored)” or “for dry season harvesting, an optimum time is 28 to 35
days after heading”.

There are other guidelines for harvest timing listed that are beyond the guessability quotient of this backyard rice farmer so I’ll just wing it based on these two.

And it will be posted here, successful or not. 😉

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2012 12:47 am

    What a beautiful thing! Nice experiment!

  2. July 25, 2012 3:38 am

    Be fab if you can have a meal with your home grown rice.

    • July 25, 2012 8:47 am

      I think I know how the first of the Neolithic era felt. After a season of work, they harvested a handful of grain and endured the mocking of their hunter-gatherer friends “is this all?” lol

  3. July 25, 2012 8:42 am

    Thank you Genene; I really liked the uniform look of the only rice I had ever seen growing (in South Carolina along the Waccamaw River) and figured it would look nice even if it didn’t produce anything.

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