Did you know that Asia is the biggest producer and consumer of rice? They produce 90% of the world’s supply, and rightfully so, because most Asian dishes are made of or best paired with rice.
While most Westerners use a spoon to scoop and eat rice, Indians and Filipinos sometimes use their hands in eating rice because they say it tastes better that way. Maybe hands have some sort of weird seasoning that adds flavor to it?
Meanwhile, the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese use chopsticks to eat rice. Their rice is a little stickier compared to normal rice so that it won’t fall apart when picked up with chopsticks.
Whether you are Asian or not, rice is a simple food to cook. And it can be a staple foor for those seeking a different diet. The good thing is, rice is so easy to grow. You can grow it on your own quite effortlessly.
This is a simple guide on how to grow rice in your backyard, in a bucket, and in water. And, yes, they all work! Read on to see for yourself.
What is Rice?
In case you have been living under a rock and not know what rice is, here is a short description of the crop.
Rice can either come in a long grain, medium grain, or short grain textures. It mostly thrives in wet conditions.”Wet conditions” here means swamp like or puddles of water. The rice must drain the water in which it is planted so that you can harvest the rice, mill it and cook it for consumption.
Benefits of Rice
Rice has its health benefits. Not only can it be an easy meal, but it can also improve your health in the following ways.
- Prevents Obesity
Rice has very low amounts of sodium, cholesterol and fat. It is a great way to help you lose weight and avoid obesity. Be careful of some types of rice, though. White rice probably has too much starch and will impede your jorney to less weight.
- Helps Prevent Cancer
Rice has high amounts of fiber. Fiber is a natural way of fighting and decreasing the risks of getting cancer. The high amount of fiber in rice helps digestion, lowers blood pressure and decreases the chances of toxin buildup in the body.
- Good Source of Energy
Rice is rich in carbohydrates. And although a lot of people say that carbs is bad for you, it actually is not. Carbs is a great source of energy. Be careful though, anything in excess is dangerous for you.
- Gluten Free and Anti Inflammatory
Did you know that rice is the most popular choice for gluten sensitive bodies? If you suffer from gluten sensitivities, rice can be a part your next scrumptuous meal with no worries involved.
Aside from its gluten free qualities, rice also prevents inflammation in your guts and throughout your entire body. Rice is a great substitute for a lot diet.
- Improves the Nervous System
Rice is the perfect aid for those whose nervous system need support. The nervous system needs vitamin B for fuel. Vitamin B helps in the formation of neurotransmitters, which in turn make sure all of our body processes are working seamlessly.
Rice is a tremendous source of vitamin B. Thus, it is a great option if you need to improve your nervous system.
How to Grow Rice in Your Backyard
When learning how to grow rice in your backyard, the first thing to know is the variety of rice that’s suitable for your planting space. If your backyard is large enough to accommodate a rice paddy, you can go for lowland varieties which grow best in flooded areas. However, if you don’t have much space, you can opt for upland varieties which grow best in regular garden soil and drier conditions.
Rice seeds are best started indoors while waiting for the temperature in your garden to be at the right range (around 75ºF or 24ºC). To do this, put your seeds in a pot with soil about six weeks before the last expected spring frost. Set the pot on a windowsill or under grow lights until it grows into seedlings.
Once you have seedlings, you can transplant them into your yard in a raised bed. The best spot to place your seedlings in is somewhere it gets much sun. Decide how many seedlings your space can accommodate by keeping in mind that they have to be planted at least a foot apart from each other. Rice plants need water constantly, so you might want to put mulch to lock in the moisture in the soil.
If you’re living in an area where you don’t get much rain, it’s best to water your plant once a week. Also make sure to remove the weeds that form around your plant to ensure good growth.
You can harvest your rice once the leaves have turned golden brown and the seeds feel firm and hard. All you have to do is cut the plant just above the soil and hang them to dry where there’s good air circulation. This might take a few weeks.
After this, you can now take the grains off the plant. If you don’t have a thresher like most people, you can actually do it by hand, although it’s going to be more time-consuming and tiring.
Rice grains have inedible husks that cover the rice, so before you can cook and eat your own homegrown rice, you have to pound these husks with a mallet or anything similar so that they could break away from the edible part of the rice grain.
How to Grow Rice in a Bucket
To get started with how to grow rice in a bucket, you will need rice seeds or long grain brown rice that can be bought from the market. For better sprouting, you can soak your rice seeds in water overnight before planting.
Then, pour about 4-6 inches of all-purpose potting soil on your 12-inch bucket without holes. Water the soil about as much as 4-6 inches, too. Then, put the soaked seeds directly onto the bucket. There’s no need to let them dry up before planting.
Place your bucket in a sunlit area, preferably one that gets full sun throughout the day. At your plant’s early growing stage, it is important to always have at least 2 inches of water in the bucket. And once the stalks reach about 6 inches, add a final layer of water that’s about 4 inches deep and just wait for it to dissipate.
After about two weeks, the stalks should start changing from green to gold. Once the stalks have completely turned to a golden color, you can harvest them.
Learning how to grow rice in this way is easy, although yields much less than rice paddies.
How to Grow Rice Hydroponically
There is another way of growing rice: hydroponically. Hydroponics is a subset of horticulture that deals with growing plants, most commonly crops, without soil. It only uses mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent.
If you’re curious about how to grow rice hydroponically, here’s a little piece of advice: it won’t be easy, but it can be done. Growing rice hydroponically won’t give you as much yield as planting it in soil does, but it’s nice to give it a try.
To prepare the seeds for planting, you have to soak them first in water for a day and a half, and then let them dry for another whole day.
You will still have to plan the seeds in a bucket with six inches of soil for it to sprout into seedlings. Fill the bucket with about five inches of water or so. Seed germination will take about two weeks, and it would be best to put them somewhere they can get full sun.
Once the seeds have sprouted into seedlings, transplant them into a hydroponic pot, but make sure to completely remove the soil from the roots first. Make sure that the roots are touching the water.
Your rice will be ready after about six months, but don’t expect that the yield would be plenty. It’s still better to grow rice in soil since you’d be starting it that way anyway.
Technology keeps evolving to make the whole plant growing process much faster and easier through the use of machines. Gone are the days where farmers break their backs under the heat of the sun the whole day just to plant rice manually and laboriously.
Technology has also given birth to a lot of plants that can now be grown indoors or in much smaller spaces to adapt to the industrialization of living spaces. It has also introduced to the world genetically modified plants that grow much faster to keep up with the mass production of crops so that it could meet the world’s demands.
Most people aren’t comfortable with this and thus opt to grow plants on their own to make sure they’re organically grown. So, maybe, while we’re all stuck in quarantine, you can pick up a few new hobbies and learn new skills such as how to grow rice and other crops so that you won’t always have to run to the market for produce.
It’s a good life hack. Trust me. So, get on with it and happy gardening!