After several long, hard days in late May/early June of getting our rice paddy set up for the summer growing season, we were able to sit back and just watch the rice plants grow. While the white clover has only been marginally successful in establishing itself, we’ve done almost no weeding at all in the paddy this summer.
There was a period in late June/early July when we went 3 weeks without any rain, and there was a noticeable slow-down in growth. I became concerned at that time that the rice wouldn’t survive a prolonged drought, so I installed a sprinkler system in the paddy that was supplied by rain catchment water.
Luckily the drought didn’t last long. I only had to use the sprinklers a few times before the rains came back. And they came back hard and often. Overall I’d say it has been quite a wet summer here in Moncure, which hasn’t been ideal for all of our vegetables, but I surely haven’t heard the rice complaining. I’ve since taken the sprinklers out and will not do any more irrigating of the rice paddy this summer.
On August 3rd, we noticed the first rice flowers in the paddy, as the long-anticipated seed heads finally began forming! As of August 10th, about 10 percent of the plants are blooming, while most of the others have bulging stems indicating that their seed heads are preparing to emerge.
On August 5th, a heavy downpour brought an inch and a half of rain which again flooded the rice paddy. This gave me the inspiration to turn our attention toward our future 1 acre rice plot. Four of us delved into the boggy field where we carved out, leveled and shaped terraces for next year’s rice paddy expansion.
We’re excited about the possibility of growing rice and wheat on a larger scale, so that we can fill some of our community’s grain needs. However in the short term, we’re focused on getting our test plot all the way through harvest, which should be sometime in mid September. Stay tuned!