Rice planting 101

Last weekend I had the rare opportunity to help with the rice planting at Amelie’s farm, Matrikunj.  Here in South India, the majority of rice is monsoon fed (seasonal rains) and there is just one planting per year.  The experience was communal, physical and beautiful.

At Matrikunj the dedicated rice fields have been with different levels so the rain can be stored in one level until it is saturated and then drained into the next and so on. There is a great deal of science behind rice planting; from my uneducated eyes, this was how it was done.

The grass or weeds had already been killed (drowned?) before we started so the field was a very fine wet mud.  We sunk into it up past our ankles.

To mark channels for irrigation, two cords stretched on sticks are pushed into the soil and then with the edges marked in this way, a person walks along throwing mud out of the channel first to the right and then to the left trying to keep things even.

Two men took a log and rolled it over the surface to make it smooth. To prepare for planting, a 10″ grid is laid out over the whole thing.

A grid made of sticks tied together is pushed into the surface and everywhere two lines intersect, a single 6″ seedling is gently poked in and erected.

Amelie with seedlings that were planted in a nursery bed just next to the fields.

That was it, over and over and over until all the fields were planted. Tadpoles quickly found their way into the new channels. We worked until sunset, then got up the next day to finish.

People are doing this all over the world.  I was thrilled to be a part of it.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia Ann Glasgow Gruher
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 23:12:00

    What an amazing experience! The photos really helped us to see what was happening.


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