Rice is one of the oldest known foods and is also the most consumed food item world wide.
It is widely available and appears in a variety of forms on the supermarket shelves, wild, brown, basmati, patna are all recognised.
As a gardener you may have wondered if it is possible to grow your own rice at home from the store bought options.
It is possible to grow rice from the grocery store providing that you use the right type of rice and can recreate the flooded environment that rice needs to flourish. You need to find good quality, organic rice that has not been subjected to any treatments for the best chances of success.
What is the best type of rice to try and grow?
You will need to look for organic, brown rice as this will give you the best chances of germination.
If you are unable to find organic rice then look for a long grain brown rice as these often contain some rice grains that will grow.
You should avoid white rice or any other type of rice that has been processed or treated as these will produce disappointing results.
What’s the best way to grow rice?
Unless you have lots of land that you can turn into a paddy field you’ll be best using containers for your rice growing.
Rice needs lots of water, which is why it is grown in flooded field, so you’ll need to replicate these conditions.
Plastic buckets and similar containers work well for rice growing but they should not have any holes in the bottom.
Fill the buckets with about 6 inches of good quality soil from the compost heap or potting soil.
You should then fill the bucket with water until the water level is 2 inches above the level of the soil.
Take a handful of your long grain rice and throw it into the bucket, it will eventually sink beneath the surface and settle onto the soil.
Repeat this process until you have used all of the rice and the buckets are full.
Looking after your growing rice
You need to keep your buckets of rice warm. Move them around during the daytime so that they get as much sunshine as possible and move them to somewhere warm overnight if needed.
You should check the water level regularly and always keep the water 2 inches deep above the surface of the soil.
When your rice plants reach about 4 to 5 inches tall you need to increase the depth of the water to about 4 inches after which you will leave the water levels to gradually reduce.
The aim is to have the plants in almost dry soil by the time they are due to be harvested.
When is rice ready for harvesting?
If the conditions have been good then you can expect to see your crop of rice in around 4 months.
You will notice that the stalks change colour, from green to a gold like colour and this indicates that it is time to harvest.
Cut the stalks and let them dry for 2 to 3 weeks, wrapped in old newspaper to protect them.
Once the stalks are dry, roast them gently at a low heat for around an hour after which you can remove the grains from the stalks and then use as you would normal rice.
Rice is not the most difficult thing to grow at home but it does need good quality organic rice and a perfect environment for germination.
Whilst it is possible to grow your own rice from the store bought options, it is not the most practical of things to do as, unless you have lots of space, your crop will be small and may not be enough for a single meal.
However, as a gardening experiment and a fun thing to try, it is perfectly possible to grow your own rice from the shop bought produce.