Growing rice in my garden !
When I was reading a book, I met across a scene where a boy visited his grandmother in the country and was asked whether he had ever seen the flowers of rice. She told him if he wanted to see them , go to the water field in the morning as the flowers will keep blooming only for 2,3 hours.
I found that I had seen green or yellow rice fields many times but had never seen the rice flowers either and wanted to see them once in my lifetime. For that purpose, I decided to grow rice in my garden this year but couldn't imagine how I should grow rice in my garden. It seemed impossible to make a water field here, but after netsurfing I found that school children learn how the rice grow at school and they use a bucket for the water field. I skipped to grow from a paddy and asked a shop in Niigata prefecture ,which is a famous prefecture for good rice product, if they would send me a few rice plants. They said they could send me some for 1000yen.
Following the direction for school children on the internet, I bought 13L buckets and some earth and started preparing seed beds. I put some water in a bucket, mixed with soil and repeated the process until the water became muddy and water came to about 3cm above the earth. The water field was ready before the young plants arrived.
On May 17th, young plants were delivered in a box. It was raining but I planted as the direction 3 bunches of plants in each bucket and the left of them in a bigger but shallower washtub.
May 17th was almost the same time that the farmers in Niigata set out rice plants this year.
Rainy season started around June 5th and as it is the rainy season it continued for 20days. Those photos were taken on June 7th. Water overflowed from the bucket and I discarded some water from the bucket.
I thought water management of the rice field would be important but it is not easy. Too much or too little water is a problem. No big growth was seen other than some plant height during this period.
Left photo was taken on July 8th. Middle July 29th
Plants grew quite tall. Rainy days stopped around June 24th. From June 25th to July 11th, hot sunny days continued for about two weeks. I had to give water in the morning and in the evening.
But from July 12th the rainy days started again until the 27th. The directions said the earth need to to dry up under the hot sunshine for 3,4 days in the middle of July, then needed some fertilizer including nitrogen in a bucket with water. Fortunately as I had continuous hot sunny days on 28,29,30 I stopped watering and after I confirmed the earth very dry I applied some fertilizer. This made me feel relieved and also made me think that the farmers must be very worried about the weather.
August 1st 10 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
2days after above process the first ear of rice appeared from among the leaves at about 10 o'clock and finally found a rice flower open. Without internet, I might have missed it.
It said flowers open from around 9:30 and close around 2p.m. And it told me that the above yellow ones are stamen and pistil is in the husk. After pollination by the wind the husk closes and we see stamen left out of husk. You have to wait until around 10 to 11:00 when the husk had enough sunshine to open and would miss the moment before it closed!
Rice will grow in each of grain like a baby grows in its mother's womb.
Small white ones look like flowers of rice. But more specifically they are stamen after the pollination.
I was so happy and excited to see the flower of rice for the first time in my life.
I wouldn't have even noticed that the ear of rice comes up like this and the flower opens and closes like this! I could not believe each of tiny grain of rice performing this.
It will take nearly one more month to harvest. I wonder if I could harvest without any complications such as typhoons or something else, but I'm satisfied at this moment that I could see pretty little flowers of rice.
Please look forward to the next report！