Growing Rice, Part 1

Due to the surprisingly strong Canadian interest in the rice planting cycle, I’m going to post a few pics of the process so far. The first step seems to be plowing up the ground to turn the soil over. Flocks of little birds called keri follow in the wake of the plow and eat all the yummy worms and things that get turned up. In English the bird is called the gray-headed lapwing, but I think I’ll just use the Japanese name.

A week or so after the plowing, the paddies are flooded. The area is criss-crossed with irrigation ditches; the farmer just closes a gate on the ditch, and it fills up and then floods the adjacent field.

The rice seedlings come in large flat trays, and are loaded into the back of a special rice-planting tractor. Note the high narrow wheels for getting traction in the muck.

Then it’s off to work for the tractor. There are ingenious little arms at the back that grab the seedlings one by one and inject them in evenly-spaced rows.

The end result may look mostly like mud now, but within a few weeks the paddies will be a gorgeous shade of green.

I’ll post more pics as the cycle goes on. I wonder what the harvesting tractor looks like.

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