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Is it possible - would rice from the supermarket grow?

 
R Ranson
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I did my monthly trip to the supermarket yesterday, and I wandered through the isles with seeds on the brain. I was looking for millet and quinoa, but suddenly I saw rice.

Rice is a seed, or so I thought to myself. With any luck, it was an internal conversation and I wasn't muttering to myself in the middle of the grocery store. White rice, I think, has the germ (the plant growy thingy) removed, but what about brown rice? Would it grow? I very nearly brought some home with me to try out. There were lots of different kinds of brown rice, some mixed with wild rice. I imagined broadcasting this and watching it grow.

But would it grow?

Even if it did grow, how would I know if it was wet land rice or dry land rice? Could I tell by looking at where the rice came from? For example, do certain States grow dryland rice? Japanese and Chinese rice are probably wet land... but what about rice from India?

What are your thoughts on this? Is it possible to grow rice from the grocery store seed?
 
Casie Becker
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I think wild rice is definitely a wetland rice. It spends the majority of it's life (sometimes from germination to maturity) under water.

Google results suggest the rice in the store has been heat treated. It wouldn't be an expensive experiment, but the other attempts I'm finding weren't successful. There seem to be a lot of sources online if you wanted to buy untreated seed.
 
Casie Becker
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Wow, looking into regular rice leads me to this http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowingrice.html

Apparently bulk bins of brown rice can sprout. That link includes step by step instructions for how through harvest, and save seed for your next crop.
 
Su Ba
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I've gotten brown rice from Costco to sprout. I grew it to just before it produced grain, then the goat got loose and ate it all. .......sigh......another reason for "crop failure". I plan to try some of the other, non-polished rices later this spring. Our "Chinese" store carries several types.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Most if not all "white" rice in stores has been polished that is the germ and bran have been removed and so it will not sprout.

Brown rice has not been polished and has both bran and germ intact, this means it will be capable of sprouting.

In Japan, Vietnam, Burma and India they sprout the seeds and grow them in water before they plant out in the paddies. For a small farm rice production I believe this to be the best method.

Rice can be "dry sprouted" as is done in the huge rice fields in the US south, but the plants require flooding for growing to fruit.
Wild rice is a plant that grows in marshes it can not be sprouted without being submerged it is a grass but is not related to "rice".

I would build a "paddy" for producing my own rice, then I would sprout my seeds, grow the plants to transplant size and hand plant out once I had the paddy flooded.
Most rice likes a water depth of around 6". With the water removed after the fruits have had time to fully develop, the plants will dry out and then you can harvest either by hand or with a machine.
 
bunkie weir
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I also have had a lot of success sprouting wild rice and brown rice from the bulk bin of a grocery store.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The stuff called wild rice that is sold at organic stores, is not really rice at all.

 I have seen it growing in marsh land, north of Lake Superior. This is the one most likely to give Canadians a useful crop.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Wild Rice is of the genus Zizania not Oryza (cultivated rices are all Oryza genus).

Wild rice can be found from Canada down along the eastern seaboard, there are three species that are called Wild Rice:
Zizania palustris (Canada to the Great Lakes region),
Zizania aquatica (found from the St. Lawrence river basin down along the eastern seaboard),
and Zizania texana (the only perennial and only found in a small section of the San Marcos River in Texas.

wild rice has a chewey outer sheath with a small, nutty flavored kernel inside.

In the USA, it used to be only Native Americans are allowed to harvest wild rice and call it wild rice. At that time the method of harvest was (it is still used today by some tribes):
canoes are paddled through the marshes and the rush heads are bent over and struck to release the grains, some fall back into the marsh and these replenish the crop for the next year.

Since the 1050's it has been cultivated in paddies, just like white and brown rice, if you ever get the true, wild, wild rice, you will know it by the heavy chew and very nutty flavor.
These characteristics are lessened every year that the zizania is cultivated in commercial fields.
 
John Weiland
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@Bryant R: "...some fall back into the marsh and these replenish the crop for the next year."

Bryant, when we moved to our current 'stead in 1992, the small river running across our property near Fargo-Moorhead was thick...I mean THICK....with wild rice. Since then, we've had two multi-year eras of severe flooding and I'm worried that the rice is gone. We have not seen hide nor hair of wild rice even in the cattail marshes of the slow-moving river for several years now. Do you know if there is enough dormancy in a locally-adapted wild rice population that there may be some from the earlier years that is still un-germinated?....Still dormant in the river bottom? Although much of it would get ergot by the end of the summer, it was sure impressive when full seed-set and ripening was apparent. I suppose we could always buy more that was produced locally and try to repopulate the stand if you think its probably not coming back.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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zizania can lay dormant for at least 5 years, probably longer if covered with silt. Unless the flood event scrubbed all the laid up silt away, it is probable that the wild rice will eventually make a comeback.

As you mention, you can buy some and reseed the area. Ergot is a problem since this grain grows in water and if there isn't much wind, the ergot can infect a whole crop.
 
R Ranson
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I brought home some brown basmati rice from the shop and soaked it overnight. The germ on some of the grains is black, so I don't know if they will grow, but others look promising. Fingers crossed. Now to figure out what to do next? Let them sprout in a jar then plant them in buckets? Night temp is about 7 degrees C right now, but we are still officially in winter, with over a month to our last frost date. I was thinking buckets inside for now, then buckets outside later.

I have this image of rice being able to transplant easily. Don't know if that's correct or not.
 
R Ranson
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Day three and the rice I soaked in a jar is now sprouting. I rinsed the rice and changed the water twice a day because there isn't much air flow in the bottom of the tiny jar.

Now it's time to get a bucket and make my nursery bed. Just over a month until our last frost date, and another 2 weeks after that before the weather warms up. Hopefully my rice won't grow too big in the 6 weeks before it can be planted out.
 
Lee Gee
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PS - The brown rices are high in heavy metals.
 
Casie Becker
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I think it might be more accurate to say that brown rice can be high in heavy metals. If I remember correctly, even in commercial rice there are some areas of the world where the soilds are highly toxic and others where it isn't.

If there isn't a high concentration of heavy metals in the soil there's no opportunity to accumulate the toxins. Knowing about the growing conditions of our food is a large part of home gardening.
 
Lee Gee
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Ok, one last post. Depending on the pH of the soil, heavy metals become more or less bio available. And depending upon the plant, it differs where they concentrate - hence white rice has less, but is unsproutable.
 
Heather Davis
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This is a fun podcast of an interview of a dry rice farmer.... http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/12/071-farmer-mai-nguyen/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HomegrownEvolution+%28Root+Simple+%29

Podcast intro: Wondering about the next generation of farmers? Meet Mai Nguyen. She grows grains and vegetables in Northern California using a no-till, dry-farming method with draft horses–all in the midst of a historic drought! During the course of the conversation we discuss:

Southeast Asian vegetables
Growing rice
Dry farming
No-till agriculture
Growing wheat
Sonora wheat
Red Fife wheat
Dark rye
Managing risk
Sheep and draft horses on a small farm
To find out more about what Mai is up to check out her blog farmermai.com.
 
R Ranson
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With my first of germinating rice in a jar of water, I decided to put some garden soil in a bucket, flood it with water and try growing rice in it. The water is about an inch above the soil, but I'm worried about it.

In the garden we have earthworms, llama berries, and all sorts of organic matter. I'm afraid that submerged in water and kept in our dining room (only part of the house hot enough), it's going to start to ferment and stink. Anyone have experience with this?
 
Heather Davis
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R Ranson wrote:I'm afraid that submerged in water and kept in our dining room (only part of the house hot enough), it's going to start to ferment and stink. Anyone have experience with this?


I'm curious if yours will ferment, too! What about pulling or ladling off the clear water and gently adding fresh water every day? Or you could try with sterile potting mix instead of garden soil?
 
Kevin Wilson
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Whole Systems in Vermont grows rice. They started out increasing seed in buckets, then moved on to paddies.
http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/rice-paddy-agriculture-vermont/
 
R Nichols
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Been thinking about this as an experiment at CPC for a few years... We have a small pond type container to try it this summer... but I may just go ahead and try an indoor experiment before warmer weather arrives.
Thanks everyone for all the great info and link shares.
 
Heather Davis
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Does anyone have a good reference for the optimum and minimum requirements for growing rice as far as growing season and climate?
 
R Ranson
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Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer has a chapter on rice. This is where I got the bucket idea from.

Pitzer says rice is a warm weather crop that takes between 90 and 180 days to mature (wow, that's a long range!). It requires moist soil up until it starts to dry down and is usually flooded for at least some of it's life. She talks about different types of rice, including the difference in cultivation around the world. The flooded paddy in Asia, the irrigated rice field common in North America. Given how many different kinds of rice there are, no wonder there is such a wide range of requirements.

About growing rice, Pitzer says:

To grow rice, your garden must be in full sun and offer a three- to six-month growing season with average temperatures above 70 degrees F. Water-retentive soil, a reliable source of water for irrigation, and a way to drain the water when you're ready to harvest.


She suggest several small paddies built on level spots and gives advice on how to construct them. Also included is advice on transplanting and flooding.

The chapter is pretty short for this book, unlike wheat for example, as growing rice in a garden isn't very fashionable (yet).

There is also a side bar about growing rice in buckets.

This is where I'm getting my inspiration from.

Our summers here are notoriously dry, but our patio is excessively hot. I figure I could grow rice in five gallon buckets and move them between microclimates as the seasons change. Regular plants can't grow on our patio as the soil dries out too quickly there. Flooded buckets are the solution. I'm starting my rice indoors in smaller nursery buckets, then I will transplant them to larger buckets as the weather warms.

Pitzer suggests the bucket should contain 4 to 6 inches of potting soil (ops, I used garden soil - okay, potting soil for the next bucket) submerged in 4 to 6 inches of water. Soak the seeds for a couple of days then sprinkle on the water. The seeds will sink to the surface of the soil. Keep warm and sunny and moist.

The book also has information on ways to dehull the rice easily and for seed saving.

I'm rather impressed with this book. I've got it out from the library so often, that I really need to get my own copy. Going on my christmas list.
 
Juliet Eve
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I was recently reading about how Thomas Jefferson (a gardener/farmer first and foremost) grew rice on his windowsill when he was obligated to take an apartment in the city for a time. I'm a bigtime sprouter so I thought gee why not sprout some rice? I buy lundberg's organic short grain brown rice. That stuff sprouted like crazy! For eating as sprouts I think it was too starchy but I have plans to sprout more and then cook it. Also I want to experiment with growing it this summer. Maybe like or with water chestnuts? https://www.greenharvest.com.au/Plants/Information/Waterchestnuts.html
 
John Weiland
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@Bryant R.:"zizania can lay dormant for at least 5 years, probably longer if covered with silt."

This case has to be in the "longer" category.  Was out in the kayak today....and there it was!  After what must be more than 7-8 years, I saw my first wild rice plants in the river near our house.  Wild grapes and hawthorn along the river are busting as well....

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Joseph Lofthouse
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Heather Davis wrote:Does anyone have a good reference for the optimum and minimum requirements for growing rice as far as growing season and climate?


I am growing dryland rice at high-elevation in a low-humidity desert in the Rocky Mountains. I irrigate it once a week, just like any other crop. My frost free growing season was 67 days this year. The rice has already flowered and set seed. It matured seed last year, so I expect that it will do so again this year. I said that I am growing rice. I didn't say that it is thriving. I didn't say that I expect to be able to feed my community from the harvest. But, I'm growing rice, and with the addition of more genetic diversity, and re-selection over the next few decades, it might demonstrate that it can thrive here.

 
eric koperek
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TO:  R. Ranson
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  Supermarket Rice
DATE:  PM 7:19 Monday 12 September 2016
TEXT:

(1)  All commercial rice (Oryza sativa) grown in the United States is wetland rice.  This does NOT mean you have to grow rice in a paddy.  Submergence in water is NOT required to grow commercial rice crops.  Rice actually grows better if it is NOT flooded.

(2)  Brown rice from the grocery store will sprout but the germination is often not good.  This will not prevent you from growing a "pancake garden" = a small area of rice for your own use.  Note that commercial rice grown in the United States comes from warm climate states like California, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Commercial rice varieties adapted to these environments often do not perform well in shorter, more northern climates = yields are reduced.

(3)  You can grow rice directly in your garden.  Soak seeds overnight.  Plant pre-soaked seed in small peat pots.  Set transplants when very young = only 8 to 12 days after germination.  Make sure peat pots are completely buried in topsoil; exposed pots will dehydrate and kill seedlings.  Space transplants 12 inches apart if you have good soil.  Space transplants 16 inches apart if you have fair or poor soil.  Fertilize soil with 1/2 to 1 pound of composted cow manure per square foot of garden (or dump 1 shovel full of compost into each planting hole).  Irrigate regularly as you would any garden crop = apply 1 to 2 inches of water weekly as needed.  Rice can be hand weeded, mulched, or grown in a living mulch of Dutch White Clover (Trifolium repens).  Supermarket brown rice usually matures (50% heading) in 80 to 110 days after germination.  Expect yields of about 2 scale ounces per plant when spaced on 16 inch centers (24,000 plants per acre) or approximately 3 tons per acre of "paddy rice" = threshed but not cleaned or processed (polished). 

(4)  Under ideal conditions dry land rice yields can exceed 10,000 pounds per acre.

(5)  Use a rototiller to grow larger amounts of rice.  Till a strip of soil the width of your rototiller = about 20 inches for most American models.  Mix compost, lime, or other amendments with topsoil.  Seed rice with a hopper type lawn spreader.  Set rototiller to 2 inch depth then make one (1) pass down the row to cover seed.  Some seed will be buried too deep, others too shallow, but enough will germinate and survive to make a good crop.  You can pre-germinate = soak seed overnight before planting if desired.  Drain well before planting or seeds will stick together.  Irrigate to settle and firm soil or roll lightly to ensure good seed to soil contact.  Keep soil moist for good germination.  Soaker hose or sprinkler irrigation works best.  You can plant Dutch White Clover along with the rice, or top seed 2 weeks after rice has germinated when plants are 6 to 8 inches high.

(6)  The standard of practice for rice cultivation in the United States is to sow 1,200,000 seeds per acre.  80% will survive giving a final plant population of about 1 million plants per acre or approximately 23 to 25 plants per square foot.  Each plant produces only a little bit of rice (about 134 grains) but because so many plants are crowded together yields are high, usually 8,000 to 11,000 pounds per acre.  Growers use large amounts of chemicals to get these yields.

(7)  We seed Green Super Rice on our plantations in the Philippines.  This rice is irrigated but NOT flooded.  Yields range from 200 to 250 cavans = sacks per acre when rice is grown using SRI agronomy and fields fertilized with 22 tons of composted cow manure per acre.  1 cavan = 50 pounds.  Early rice harvest is just starting and our better fields are yielding 8,000 to 9,000 pounds per acre without chemicals.  Late harvest rice usually yields more, about 10,000 to 12,500 pounds per acre in our best fields with high organic matter soils.

(  Rice grows well in the Austrian Alps (Salzburg).  High land rice = dry land rice yields about 5,000 to 6,000 pounds per acre when seeded with a no-till drill into standing Dutch White Clover that is mowed 1 inch high before planting.  Higher yields are possible if the crop is fertilized and irrigated.

(9)  Note:  Growing dwarf or semi-dwarf rice varieties with Dutch White Clover reduces yields by approximately 20%, sometimes more.  6 to 8 inches of the rice stems are shaded by the clover and this is enough to reduce photosynthesis and yield.  Taller heritage varieties yield much better, especially if clover is top seeded when rice plants are 8 to 12 inches high.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

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