Thursday, May 23, 2013

Planting the seeds

April 15, 2013

Temp: 46/70 degrees
Wind speed: 13 - 37 mph

Members of the UC Davis committee, Emille Kirk and Yumi Henneberry, came out to the site to help Dr. Mike and myself plant the seeds. Before coming to plant Emille soaked the rice seeds in a cloth bag for two days to make the rice ready for planting.

The variety of rice we are using on this site has not been tried in California before except for in a greenhouse at UC Davis. The variety is made specifically for cooler areas, which Jersey Island is. Up until about 10 years ago rice would not be able to be planted on Jersey Island because of the cooler temperatures in April.

This variety of rice is called Cal Mochi 101. Cal Mochi 101 is a Japanese short gran, sticky rice. Sticky rice is properly know as glutinous rice. This refers to the glue-like characteristic of the rice and does not mean it is a gluten rice. Some also refer to this rice as the Japanese table rice, preferred because it is sticky and a short grain. Some Japanese use this rice to make sake.

The peat soil should make this rice easier to grow in California under the right condition.

The UC Davis committee chose not to use the method of planting this rice in the ground because then it would have needed to use a herbicide to reduce weeds. Since the project works with young people they wanted to illuminate that process. This is also why they chose the greenhouse method of planting. This would allow the seeds to be spread on the top of the peat soil and let the seeds take root from there.

The next step was to place the greenhouses over the seeds and to attach them into the ground with bent rebar to make sure they stayed down in the excessive Delta winds.

After all the greenhouses were in place we added the bird netting to each end as instructed by the UC Davis folks. Since there are a lot of birds in the area it wouldn't take too long for all the seeds to be quickly eaten up without the netting.

Our final step was to add more water to the ditches to make sure that the soil stayed completely moist through all of the time in the nursery. Since this area was not used to staying wet the water evaporated after a couple of days. Within a week, however, the soil remained wet enough that the soil needed only to have a small trickle of water added on a regular basis.

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