I will try this year my first attempt at rice. Anyone has got experience in this grain ?

I have trailed a few varieties upland style but only one has done well for me. I’m trailing 4 more this year, two from the usda germplasm and of which one is an African rice, Oryza glaberrima. The first year I grew rice, I trialed a variety that did moderately well for me but did not meet my desires because it had no poor straw height and the plants were not vibrant. Despite these poor qualities, I remember the lovely sweet rice smell from the plants after I harvested and bundled them. It was not an aromatic variety but it smelled like rice milk.

After I read Fukuoka’s work, I wanted varieties that grow tall, about around 4 or 5 feet, and have low lodging. The one I grew last year did grow about 4 feet tall and produced well under dryland conditions. There are some in the germplasm that grow very tall, I think I remember a few over 200cm.

Rice seems to be highly attractive to animal and birds. The first year I had a lot of birds attack it, but I think this also had to do with the time of year in which parent birds were training their fledglings to feed themselves and the fact that the plot was planted closer to trees and shrubbery where the birds can quickly escape predator attacks from hawks. The other year I had no bird pressure, it was grown in an open plot, but rats were smart enough to cut the base and mulch the straw until they reached the grains. Once the rats start doing this I cut all the grain. They know when it’s ripe.

I have very rainy summers beginning in late June and carrying on typically into August. Earlier plantings beginning in April or May had a lot of bird predation. I start my rice a few weeks out before wanting to plant it in the ground. I tried direct seeding but almost 100% was lost to ants who know to eat the grain as it just begins to sprout. They only eat the embryo and move on to the next seed.

Some people also use the abundance of straw for growing culinary mushrooms. It can also be used to naturally ferment soybeans into natto. The rice hulls are used in alcoholic fermentation too. There are a lot of uses for the plant and the most difficult part is dehulling the seeds on a small scale, something I have not had enough seed to do. There are home-scale machines you can build to do this and videos on them but I have not done it yet.

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I’m growing a black rice dryland style just for interest. It’s coming into flower now. Our first frost is due in 6 to 8 weeks so I hope the rice matures in that time.

I threw a handful of grocery store rice in a pot and three germinated. One survived two years because I brought it inside, but I kept forgetting to water it so it never bloomed.

This year I’ll be doing a rice test with some purchased seeds, and only keep seeds that dehull easily. Worth a try.

Rice would be fun to grow, but I don’t think I’ll try it in this desert! (Laugh.)

I’m curious about how you’re planning to grow it? The traditional paddies? Flooding? Maybe something else, like swales?

still thinking about this ! I don’t know yet if the research center will be able to send me dryland rice as I asked. Anyway this year I will have only 10 grams per variety so anything can be done.

Rice doesn’t need deep water. They mostly use that format because 1) rice has roots that can take oxygen from the water and 2) it cuts down on weed pressure. From the research I’ve found it looks like rice will grow just fine without being flooded.

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Oh, I didn’t know that! How cool! I didn’t even know dryland rice existed!

@Lauren thank you this is a very precious piece of information! So any rice could be grown in dryland conditions. I will try that !

update on my rice : good germination, I transplanted them at 10cm but probabely too many plants per hole so they may have had some difficulty growing because of that, plus the low temperature in july.
I was almost loosing interrest for them in september, but we had a full week of very late hot weather, over 25°C which is the temperature needed for the formation of the grains .
So there is some hope I will get seeds …


That’s great news! I hope you’re able to get mature seeds. When is your first frost expected? Mine is mostly finished flowering and the seed heads are filling out. It will be ready in good time before our first frost.

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first frost may happen after the end of October, but will the grain mature under less thant 20°C temperatures ?

I think likely it will, or at least some grains will be filled out enough to germinate next year.

good news! thank you for the hope. Actually, we have a window of about 10 days of 20° + weather , I cross fingers…

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Almost there. I’m keeping watch each day in case the rats start pillaging.

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mine is still upright


I see some of your awns bending. Usually that means grain is filling. How tall are your plants? It looks like they have nice tillers.

last time I measured they were 90cm tall.

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inspection of my rice today : the grains don’t seem to fill. when I press them with 2 fingers, it seems empty.
the season is not finished yet…

Some of the varieties I tried this year are maturing late and also do not have grain fill. I’m not sure what causes these issues when the plants look healthy. I hope the weather stays favorable for you!

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