Rice comes in long-grain, medium- and short-grain textures. It grows easily in your backyard, in a garden bed or in buckets, given the right amount of soil, water, and other nutrients. Short-grain, medium-grain and long-grain rice thrive in wet conditions, specifically standing puddles of water or swamp-like conditions. Once the rice grains develop, the water in which they grow must drain so that you can harvest and mill the crop. After the harvesting and milling processes, you can eat the rice.
Purchase rice seeds from any gardening or farmers supply store.You may also buy rice seeds from a reputable supply store or seek help from the local agriculture field officer. There are five basic types of rice to choose from:
- Long-grain. This type of rice produces grains that are light and fluffy. It tends to be a bit drier than other varieties.
- Medium-grain. This type is moist, tender, slightly sticky, and a little creamy when cooked. It has the same texture as long-grain.
- Short-grain. When cooked, short-grain rice becomes soft and sticky. It’s also a little more sweet – this is the rice to use with sushi.
- Sweet. This rice is sometimes called sticky rice, and is gooey when cooked. It’s often used for frozen products.
- Aromatic. This type of rice has more flavor and fragrance than other varieties. This category includes Basmati, Jasmine, Red, and Black japonica.
Arborio. This type becomes creamy with a chewy center after cooking. It’s used primarily for risotto and other Italian dishes.
Choose your planting location. Make sure the soil in the area you’re planting consists of slightly acidic clay for the best results. You may also plant your rice seeds in plastic buckets with the same type of soil. Wherever you plant, make sure you have a reliable water source and a way to drain that water when you need to harvest.
- Pick a location that receives full sunlight, as rice grows best with bright light and warm temperatures of at least 70° Fahrenheit (approximately 21° Celsius).
- Consider the season – your area needs to allow for 3 to 6 months of plant and flower growth. Rice needs a long, warm growing season, so a climate like the southern United States is best. If you don’t have long periods of warmth, it may be best growing your rice inside.
Gather at least 1 to 2 ounces (28.5 to 56.5 g) of rice seeds to sow. Soak the seeds in water to prep them for planting. Allow them to soak for at least 12 hours but not longer than 36 hours. Remove the seeds from the water afterward.
- While your seeds are soaking, plan out where and how you want to plant them. Most prefer to plant the seeds in rows to make it easier to water and weed. Consider building trenches and blocking the ends so the water stays contained and dammed (berms can be used as well). That being said, the area doesn’t need to stay flooded per se, it just needs to stay wet.
Plant the rice seeds throughout the soil, during the fall or spring season.Get rid of the weeds, till the beds, and level the soil. If you are using buckets, fill them with at least 6 inches (15 cm) of moist soil. Then add the rice seeds.
- Keep in mind that the area needs to be flooded with water. It’s much easier to flood a few smaller spaces than one larger one. If you’re planting outside, using several seed beds will be easier to manage and maintain.
- If you plant in the fall, be sure to de-weed come spring. The rice seeds need all the nutrients and space they can get.