Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Project- Rice Paddy

Well, the time has come to start experimenting with rice. I had tried to make a 100 square meter rice paddy a few years ago, but it was too large, leaky, and uneven. This time I think it will be a bit better. It is a lot smaller too, only 25 square meters.

Detail of sides
I began by measuring out a 5x5m square near the water source- a small stream coming from the bamboo forest behind the orchard. I used the 3-4-5 triangle to make sure it was square. I planted a stake in the first corner, and attached a 12 meter rope loop. I measured 4 meters of the rope along the first edge, and pounded in a stake, returned, and then measured 3 meters along the second leg. When the remaining 5 meters was taut, I knew I had a perfect right triangle. Then I could expand that to five meters in both directions easily. After that, measuring 5 meters from the posts gave me the fourth corner.

After I had my square, I began cutting the sod out in 30x60cm sections starting from the visible high points. I stacked them like bricks in the low areas to make a wall all the way around the paddy. Then I turned over all the soil inside the enclosure, and raked it fairly flat.

Once that was done, I flooded it. It leaked something fierce- of course it did, it had huge lines of grass sandwiched between the soil. But throwing a few shovels full of clay against the inner edges cut the leaks to almost nothing.

There were still shallow and deep spots, so I used my rake and shovel to even them out a bit more. I threw out all the roots from the bamboo and silver grass that had been there. Finally I had a 10cm deep, 25 square meter rice paddy.

Just two more weeks until planting time! Can't wait!

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1 comment:

  1. You're a lot more mathematical about measuring your squares than I am. I usually mark it out approximately then measure corner-to-corner and move stakes till I get it right. Your way is probably faster :)
    Do have a certain variety of rice you'll plant? Are you winging it, or have you tried rice before?