Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing rice in Indiana?

Yeah, I know I'm crazy, or at least a little goofy. But seriously, I have been giving this some though lately and I'm darn sure going to try it anyhow!

I recently was given several accessions of rice, including many of glutinous rice and have been thinking of the many ways that I could grow this generally wet loving crop in our climate, a few ideas have come to mind, most would be fairly practical but would not allow the space for any real "harvest" of anything other than seed for replanting, however each experiment could be scaled up and the trick for us would be to grow enough so that we can have a couple of bowls of rice per week here in our home from our own stock.

Most of my ideas revolve around filling a container without any drainage holes such as a bucket, a two gallon bottle with the top cut off, or even a childrens' swimming pull 3/4 full of growing medium, likely garden soil, composted manure, and vermicompost, then filling the container with water and inundating the soil until the water is about 3/4" above the soil line (for this we will use water catchment off of the guttering on the house), at this point you could plant your seed. Once the seed germinates and begins to grow and gets it's head above water you would add water once more, give the seed heads time to develop, stop watering and then harvest. The seed heads could be dried in the greenhouses, later the seed would be threshed from the stalk and then baked at low heat (under 200 degrees farenheight) for under an hour, at which point you should be able to roll the seeds in your hand or place them between some moving screens to create the friction needed to free the seeds. Afterwords you would simply winnow out the chaff and have the essential rice grain for personal use for the coming years!

Now, I'm not sure how large I'm going to make this project this year, but I've got enough freaking containers around here I should be able to get a decent sized experimental plot planted for the year. I'll report back later!

6 comments:

Mr. H said...

Sounds great, I would love to hear more about how you end up going about growing rice and how it turns out.

My wife and I tried growing rice a couple years ago, similar to the way you described and it did not work out that well. We had a hard time keeping the water temperature within the proper ranges.The buckets of water either got too warm or too cold. The rice sprouted but that was as far as it got.

I would Love to hear more about it.

Sekolah Petani said...

At present I also experiment growing rice in container in Jakarta of Indonesia. I find it nearly no significant difference between putting hole in the container or not. Henry Laulanie, who discovers the system of rice intensification (SRI), suggests similar understanding that actually rice is not as what most people presume. If too much water clogs in, it may suffer what he calls 'asphyxiation'. In Indiana you may have longer sun shines (during summer time?) as compared to here in Indonesia that may induce your rice more productive? You may want to see Laulanie's explaination, much less than academic one, or refer to Cornell's CIIFAD's worldwide campaign for SRI.

linda said...

Alan
Wonderful idea and I was thinking about experimenting in SW Wisconsin as well.Have you read the book One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka? He farmed rice in Japan with periodic flooding but not in the traditional manner and he did so successfully. His book describes the method he used from seed to harvest which he did without machinery. I think I am going to try his method myself if not this year then next. But I do look forward to reading what your results are just the same.

Owen Bridge said...

I've been fascinated about the possibility of growing rice for years now ever since reading Masanobu Fukuoka's books. Unfortunately I don't think we get quite enough heat here in Nova Scotia. Good luck with your experiments, I'll be sure to keep an eye-out for any results that you post!

Now seeding wild-rice in our wetlands, that might have some potential...

Ottawa Gardener said...

Sounds like a bit of work. I'll be back to see the results. Have you tried with NA wild rice (I know different plant).

Bishops Homegrown said...

Glad to hear from everyone and very happy to get the suggestions about growing rice. I'll keep everyone updated. Hopefully this will work out!