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Rice on Puget Sound [Western Washington State]

 
Hans Quistorff
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Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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I have these natural ponds in my one foot flood zone. They are full of water all winter and do not start to dry down until the rain stops on the 4th of July. The logical permaculture thing to do is to plant what likes to grow in those conditions. I spent this afternoon raking the weeds and debris out of them. They are mostly 4 to 6 inches deep and one has a one foot deep center. The bottoms are a rich organic soup slightly anaerobic there is no decomposition during the winter. during August and September worms work their way into the dry pond fallowed by the moles. The clumps of grass growing on the molehills can be moved back from the pond by sloshing them up and down to remove the dirt and then used to fill the holes to make the swamp more solid. I will get pictures tomorrow.

I am requesting any experience with seeding the ponds directly instead of transplanting and anyone that may have seed available. We are expecting temperature 40F at night and 60F daytime for the next 6 weeks. I need to find out what germination temperature is best for rice.

Small project with a big learning potential.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Hey Hans,

Sounds like a cool project. I am unaware of anyone seriously playing with rice around here, but I know a bunch of folks in the North East have been. You might want to poke around and get in touch with some of those folks directly.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Promised some pictures so I got out my camera, temperature probe, and my weed hook and went out to the field. Sun was out so I took my shirt off and got some more vitamin D.

Now I will try to post the pictures.

https://plus.google.com/photos/117589846955924827154/albums/6116333868691410641/6116337701206159138?
 
Bill Erickson
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Hans, Google tells me, very politely, "You do not have permission to view this album".
Sad old jarhead is me.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Try again I made two posts accidentally and one was marked private. https://plus.google.com/+HansQuistorff/posts/C9PfY4ub86y?pid=6116346114782771762&oid=117589846955924827154

The first link works . The image link works if you right click and open it in a new tab. I cant seem to make the Google link work. The images are in Picassa anyone know how to make them accessible?
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Looks like a nice little trial patch. Might be able to use a pig to muck it up a bit more for you though and I normally wouldn't even suggest such things in my Corner of The Sound.
 
Bill Erickson
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Hopefully this works properly. I took the "s" off of the HTTP so that it is viewable - I think. I can see it on my screen anyway.

 
Matt Walker
Posts: 224
Location: North Olympic Peninsula
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Hans, I tried last year, both in a greenhouse and outside. I did not direct sow, but started in kiddie pools in the greenhouse in March. The outdoor rice grew slowly but never headed up. The greenhouse rice grew about 4 times the rate/size and did head up but the grains didn't fill in before the cold November nights stopped it completely. I didn't try real hard to get hardy seed stock, just grew what I could get from the Bay Area growers and Baker Creek. I don't have much more to add, I was experimenting and have no experience with rice growing, so it's possible it was me more than the weather. I did suspect my water/air was just too cool since it sorta hangs around 55 here mean temps all summer as I'm close to the ocean. You will be a bit warmer there, my folks are not far from you and it's quite a bit warmer where they are than here on the Strait. Good luck man. What seed stock are you using?
 
Matt Smaus
Posts: 37
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Ben Falk is growing rice in Vermont and goes into it deeply in his book. He goes into it deeply here as well: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/ben-falk-on-growing-rice-in-cold-climates

I lived on the Puget Sound and thought a lot about how to do it there. I'm positive you need to start it indoors and transplant it. The actual growing season for rice is not much different from Vermont because rice require warm nights and, though we're above freezing a lot sooner, we're not warm any sooner. Also, we're a dry summer climate, not a wet summer climate like the NE, so you'd have to be prepared to water A LOT in July and August.

There are other options for growing staple foods in muck in the NW, however. Native options, such as Wapato (Sagittaria latifolia). Alan Kapuler sells seeds of tons of amazing plants here: http://peaceseedslive.blogspot.com/

Good Luck. I'm in the midwest now, where we have WILD rice!
 
Matt Smaus
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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PS, if you're willing to thresh small grains, growing a patch of wheat and clover is a piece of cake, and very satisfying. You want to flush for weeds first, but if you do, and then broadcast wheat and crimson clover together over the patch, rake it in, and tamp it down a bit with the rake or by walking on it, you will get a nice stand. Plant in late mid to late September. When you harvest the grain mid-summer the following year, the clover will come surging up and make a lot of Nitrogen before it stops growing in the winter. It will also provide nice cover in the winter. Anyways, a lot of fun. The pain is in threshing--it is SO much more efficient by large machine than by hand, so it will never be economical, though I've made a bucket thresher and that helps a bit.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Thank you all for your comments. And Bill Erickson for getting the image to show I will try it in this post. Nop still have to open in a new tab.
Apparently the rice seed needs to be warm to break dormancy and about 55 soil temperature to be transplanted.
when I took the pictures the soil was 46 so it seems possible if I get a short season rice.


This seed looks promising.
 
Bill Erickson
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Hans Quistorff wrote:Thank you all for your comments. And Bill Erickson for getting the image to show I will try it in this post. Nop still have to open in a new tab.
Apparently the rice seed needs to be warm to break dormancy and about 55 soil temperature to be transplanted.
when I took the pictures the soil was 46 so it seems possible if I get a short season rice.


This seed looks promising.


Hans, you need to "right click" on the picture and then copy the picture URL to here. Either way, here they are.

Picture of Hans' pond temperature.


Picture of rice seed from the Hancock Seed website.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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The storms this week have finally got my ponds overflowing. They are shallow and I want to try planting rice in them this spring so I filled them with the flax we have been discussing on the fiber arts thread. I will rake that out when the frog chorus starts. Then I will start experimenting at what temperature sprouted rice will continue to grow. My year of observation has given me this plan. So the next year is for experimentation. My seed testing indicates the forbidden rice from the bulk food section sprouts very well I hope it is tolerant of the cool start. The ponds that I raked out in the spring remained weed free and dried out early in July with the drought this year.
Perhaps if I continue the flax retting each winter the ponds will do double duty with minimum maintenance. We are in sort of a rain shadow here on the south end of the Key Peninsula during the summer. One spring I was working down here with my shirt off and it was snowing on my wife at the north end of the peninsula when I called her. This past summer was mid 60's at night and mid 80's for high.

I will close this thread down until spring and then start posting again. It is time to prepare my account for taxes, tend my hoop houses where it is dryer, prune when the wehter is good and work on my therapy sites.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 565
Location: Longbranch, WA
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2016 update on rice project
Pond areas that were heavily mulched last fall raked out nicely and I am getting ready to start sprouting a variety of seed to trial. Ponds are fuller than during the winter so I am expanding them with more mulch.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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