Let’s Grow Rice

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:[1]

  • 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.

Continue reading “Let’s Grow Rice”


How To Grow Healthy Skuma Wiki And Spinach In Your Backyard

Gunia farm preparation

Take a 50 kg gunia (gunny bag) and fill it with soil, if you have manure mix it in in equal measure. When the gunia is about 30-45 cm filled, take a container (you can use 2kg tin commonly known as gorogoro) cut off the bottom so that its open on both sides and place it in the middle of the gunia. Fill it with small pebbles-you can use the ‘kokoto’ used in construction and continue adding soil around it up to the top; gently remove the tin leaving the stones in the middle.


Since sukuma wiki and spinach are in the same family, they require the same environmental conditions to grow; they take a similar amount of time to mature, in addition to being attacked by the same pests. Sukuma and spinach seeds have to be grown in a nursery for four weeks before being transplanted to the garden.

For a nursery you can use a container (20-litre jerrican cut into two), alternatively, the top of your gunia-which now has a circular patch of stones surrounded by soil, will act as your nursery. With a stick, make shallow trenches 15 cm apart. It will look like you are drawing circles around the stone patch. Thinly spread your seeds, fill the trenches with soil, cover with some grass and water-use a watering can that spreads water in a shower.

If you have a bit more space create a raised bed of soil one metre wide and a length dependant on the number of seedlings you want. Mix dry manure into the soil and run a stick or your finger across the soil, creating ridges half an inch deep and 15 centimetres apart from each other. Spread the seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil, thereafter cover the bed/container with grass and water.

Transplanting to the gunia

After three days, your Sukuma/spinach will have germinated, water daily and after four weeks they will be ready to be taken to the gunia or your backyard. Choose a cloudy day to do this or do so in the early morning (6-10am) or evenings (4-7pm), this is to reduce plant stress from direct sunlight. Before uprooting seedlings from the nursey, water them at least an hour before transplanting. In the meantime, prepare your gunias to receive the young seedlings.

A 50 kg gunia should handle a maximum of 35 plants but feel free to experiment with more. Using a knife, make holes around the gunia 30 cm from each other, when you are done with one row it should look a circle of holes around the gunia. Go thirty 30 cm below this row and do the same thing. Water your gunia from the top, uproot your seedlings from the nursery-remember to hold the bottom part of the stem when uprooting and use your fingers to plant the seedlings into the gunia holes.

Watering and fertilisation

Water the transplanted seedlings twice a day, in the mornings and evenings and don’t miss a day. You will get healthy Sukuma Wiki only when you maintain care from a young age. After two weeks, spray your sukuma wiki with a foliage fertilizer like Easy Gro or Gatit foliar feed fertilizer. At this stage, the plant will be experiencing extensive leaf growth, so fertilization is key.

If you want to go organic, you can make your own plant tea by soaking leaves of the tithonia plant (nicknamed African sunflower), or/and pawpaw leaves, in a bucket of water for two weeks, keep on stirring the mixture every three days to add oxygen which is needed for decomposition (this mixture will smell like cow urine so put it away from your windows). Sprinkle on the plant roots and leaves, dilute in the ratio of 1 part plant tea to 3 parts water and use a maximum of one cup per plantHarvesting

Your sukuma wiki/spinach should be for harvesting in 3-4 weeks after transplanting, harvest in the mornings or evening. When harvesting Sukuma wiki, break off the leaf branch but leave a section of the branch still attached to the main stem to avoid rotting. For spinach, break off the whole leaf branch from the main stem to avoid rotting

To ensure you keep on harvesting for a longer period, add manure or plant tea after every harvest. You will need to keep off pests, especially aphids who cause curling of leaves and stunted growth. For those going organic, sprinkle ash, boil hot pepper or neem leaves and spray the mixture after it cools-it will kill most pests.

How to grow and harvest black cherry tomatoes.

Cherry Tomatoes Are the Easiest Plant You’ll Ever Grow


Love the idea of growing tomatoes, but not sure where to start? Grab a pot and some cherry tomato seedlings. They’re amazingly easy to grow, and even one plant will bear a steady crop of bite-size fruits all season.

There are a few varieties you can choose from when planting cherry tomatoes. A popular variety of cherry tomatoes is Sweet Million, which bear long clusters of sweet yet tomatoes red fruit; SunSugar, which produces super-sweet, richly flavored golden fruit; and an heirloom called Black Cherry, whose tomatoes have a complex, rich, sweet flavor.

What You’ll Need

If you’d prefer something more aesthetically pleasing than a bucket, there are many different planters, pots, and even ready-made self-watering models available at your local garden supplier. Choose one that holds about 5 gallons; a round 5-gallon flower pot is about 12 inches tall and 12 inches across at the top.

How to Plant

Preparing Garden Soil

Healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants and a healthy environment. When garden soil is in good shape there is less need for fertilizers or pesticides.

Organic soil is rich in humus, the end result of decaying materials such as leaves, grass clippings and compost. It holds moisture, but drains well. Good organic garden soil is loose and fluffy — filled with air that plant roots need — and it has plenty of minerals essential for vigorous plant growth. It is alive with living organisms — from earthworms to fungi and bacteria — that help maintain the quality of the soil. Proper pH is also an essential characteristic of healthy  soil.

Follow these steps when preparing your soil:

Dig deep.

Most plants are content with 6 to 8 inches of good ground for their roots to grow in.If you’re planning to grow substantial root crops (potatoes, say, or carrots), go deeper still — up to a foot or more (yes, you can use a technique called hilling, where you mound up good soil around crops like potatoes, but this method doesn’t excuse your making a shallow vegetable garden).

Fill ‘er up.

Add lots and lots of organic matter! Try using compost, dehydrated cow manure, shredded leaves, well-rotted horse manure (call nearby stables), or a mixture. If your yard happens to be blessed with fertile soil, adding organic matter is less crucial, but most soils can stand the improvement. Mix it with the native soil, 50-50, or even more liberally.

Maybe your area’s soil is notoriously acidic, or very sandy, or quite obviously lousy for plant growth. The good news is that organic matter can be like a magic bullet in that it helps improve whatever you add it to. You have to replenish the organic matter at the start of every growing season or maybe even more often. (If the soil stubbornly resists improvement, resort to setting raised beds atop it and filling these bottomless boxes with excellent, organically rich soil.)

How to take care of cannonball cabbage plants

Cabbage plants grow easily and provide beneficial nutrients, but you must provide the plants with proper care to nurture their growth. A cool-season vegetable, you can plant cabbage in spring to harvest before the hot summer months or plant them in late summer to harvest before first frost. Purchase cabbage plants from your local nursery or — if you have room — start seeds indoors about 60 days before the last spring frost. You can use cabbage to make coleslaw and sauerkraut, or you can wrap the leaves around a savory meat mixture to make cabbage role.

  • Loosen the soil to a depth of about 12 inches before planting to make it easy for roots to spread.
  • Set transplants outdoors for a few hours each day to harden them off before planting in the garden
  • Space plants about 15 to 18 inches apart to allow enough room for the heads to reach maturity.
  • Spread a 1-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants, such as a mixture of compost, shredded leaves and manure, which insulates the soil, retains moisture and slowly releases nutrients in the soil.
  • Provide the plants with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week. Place a rain gauge in the ground around plants so you know if you have to water the plants yourself.
  • Remove the weeds around the cabbage plants regularly. You can pull weeds by hand if there are only a few weeds, but a garden hoe makes it easier to clear a large area of weeds, while also keeping the soil loose.
  • Inspect the leaves and soil around the plants regularly for cabbage worms, which will eat holes through the leaves. Remove these small green bugs immediately so they don’t destroy your crop.
  • Apply fertilizer to the plants when the cabbage heads begin to develop, choosing either a complete, water-soluble fertilizer or an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion.

Cut cabbage heads from the stem with a sharp knife when they reach the size of a softball. Peel away the outer leaves and discard. You can harvest fall crops when they grow beyond softball size, if desired, because you don’t have to worry about hot summer temperatures damaging the cabbage.

How To Grow Danvers Carrots

Danvers carrots are medium sized carrots, often called “half size.” They were once a choice carrot for their flavor, especially when young, because mature roots can become fibrous. Danvers were an early orange cultivar, as previous favored selections were white, red, yellow and purple. Read on to learn how to grow Danvers carrots and a bit about their history.

How to Grow Danvers Carrots

Prepare a garden bed by loosening soil to a depth of at least 10 inches (25 cm.). Incorporate organic material to increase porosity and add nutrients. You may plant these carrot seeds three weeks before the date of the last expected frost in your area. Build a low mound and plant seeds with just a dusting of soil over them. Water regularly to keep soil from drying out. When you see the tops of the roots, cover the area with some organic mulch. Prevent competitive weeds as the roots form. Danvers carrot information indicates that this variety is very heat resistant and rarely splits. You can begin harvesting baby carrots at any time they are large enough to eat.