Growing Rice

Rice is a delicious and versatile grain that’s fun to grow yourself. Learn about many types of rice and all about growing your own.

| November 6, 2009

The following is an excerpt from Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer (Storey, 2009). The excerpt is from Chapter 8: Rice.

Undoubtedly, rice is the most important grain in the world. Billions of people depend on it for sustenance. Growing it in the backyard, though, is challenging — but not impossible.

You’ll have the best luck with it if you live in the South (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida or southern Missouri) or in California, which are areas where you can count on a long, warm growing season.

You can try your hand with rice no matter where you live by planting small amounts in plastic buckets and setting them in a sunny spot outside or indoors under lights. You won’t harvest enough rice to make a meal unless you plant many, many buckets, but this is a terrific way to learn and understand the steps that go into producing a rice crop. Have your children join in, and in the end, you’ll all understand why Asian cultures avoid dishonoring the farmer by never wasting a single grain of rice.

Botanical name: Oryza sativa 
Season: Warm
Grain yield: 10 pounds per 100 square feet
Site: Full sun; warm temperatures; fertile, poorly drained soil
Days to harvest: 90 to 180
Gluten: No
Special consideration: Needs at least 40 continuous days with temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit

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