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Growing Zizania aquatica?

steward & bricolagier
Posts: 6994
Location: SW Missouri
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My weird rabbithole of the morning concerns growing wild rice. I LOVE the good stuff I buy from up north, but it will not grow here. (Zone 6, southern Missouri) I saw that Zizania aquatica natively grows all the way to Florida USDA plant profile and the map shows it within 150 miles of me, but it's a state by state map, so that doesn't mean a lot, just means the state line is 150 miles away.

Everwilde has seeds  Everwilde
And here's an nice write up on growing it  Wild Rice Seed

So my questions: Anyone growing it for food for people or animals? Think I can do it on a shallow pond ledge if I keep it covered? Pond will not be measured in acres, nor constant flow, but replenished by rain catch, and 100 foot across at most, probably less. Not looking for massive acreage crops, just for a cool edible that will grow here. Advice? Stories? Tell! I want to know more!! :D

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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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There are two issues to address if you want to grow wild rice (Zizania aquatic) outside of its normal occurring range.
1.)  You need two months of chill (or a fridge you can stratify them in.
2.)  You need to have an area you can turn into a "Paddy" so that the seeds and plants will always be at least 2" under the water surface.

Once you have those two viable, then it is plant, grow and wait for the seeds to start to darken towards black (black seeds are the ripe ones and they usually fall off within 2-3 days of fully ripening).
The harvest is pretty easy if you are growing it in Paddies, just take a collection container and shake the heads over and against your harvesting container.


I totally forgot, be ready for doing multiple harvesting since the seed heads don't all ripen at one time, so you will need to harvest every few days once those first seeds ripen. (season last about a month in the wild)
Also, wild rice isn't really rice (as most folks think of rice (Oryza)). It takes cooking (open fire and a very large "wok shaped" steel pan), the best tool for stirring is a large wooden spoon (paul bunyan sized) watch for scorching while you are stirring the hulls need to crisp up, then you thresh and winnow to get the grains ready for storage or cooking for a meal. (Lots of folks will blend real rice with wild rice since wild rice is pretty pricey at stores)
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