Organic farming, Japanese recipes

Planting rice Japanese style–part 2


Japan’s obviously going through some hard times right now; I encourage anyone with even a little available to donate to Doctors Without Borders or any other organization working to help the Japanese.

I’m happy to report, though, that down here we seem to be just fine.  The winds generally head out to sea from the Fukushima nuclear plant, and the ocean currents flow northward.  We certainly can’t expect to be sitting pretty forever, but we’re also not booking the next flight out.  And local fish might be a real bargain for a while

We’ve completed the next three steps in planting this year’s rice.  One involved walking the fields with azumi, a fertilizer, and scattering it by hand—this was a week ago.  The second step had us attaching a hopper to the front of the tractor to scatter and then plow in “Dirt-making Boy”, another fertilizer, the next day.  Apparently these are both ‘organic’ even though they’re man-made.  I’ll translate the bags and get back to you…

Today we took the seeds from last year’s rice, measured them by volume into bags based on the fields they’ll go into, and set them soaking for a few days in water.  Into the soaking water we added a very definitely not organic, nasty-smelling chemical to prevent mold and other diseases.  This is one of the two hold-outs that my wife’s mother can’t get rid of, as problems at this stage could jeopardize much of the harvest.  In fact, our rice has never had a problem that might effect this stage of sprouting, but because of cross-pollenation we have to be careful.  Cross-pollenation affects rice enough that we order new seed rice every three to four years to make sure that our strains are what we want them to be.  It’s a fair sight better than farmers who sign a Monsanto contract and then can’t reseed their own crops on pain of a lawsuit … if you’re near a computer (I think you are) please google an anti-Monsanto action and sign, send support, call your representative, do something!  Harvesting and replanting seeds is a human right older than almost any other.

There are certainly other organic ways to inhibit mold, including a strong green tea solution.  The easiest and probably best-documented way is to use EM-1 (Effective Microorganisms), which I’ll be researching for a trial run next year on a portion of the rice seeds—I hope to be using it exclusively two years from now.

The next steps in the field we’ll contract out to neighborhood friends—levelling the dirt under water, which I’m definitely still too green on the tractor do to, and planting the rice, which is now done by a freakin sweet tractor that looks like something out of an anime, which we don’t have.  Pics of that are definitely to come.


4 thoughts on “Planting rice Japanese style–part 2

  1. Just so you know, when life gets boring/unpleasant in Las Vegas, I close my eyes and pretend I’m you farming rice in Japan. Seriously, it’s everything the US needs more of: self-sufficiency, connection to the land, and communal cooperation.
    Also, it’s good to hear everyone near you is safe from fallout.

    • Hey Daniel, well just remember the grass isn’t always as green as it might look from afar. But yeah, despite hardships I think we still manage to enjoy life and our surroundings. Best to you!

  2. Good to read a new post. You must be learning a lot. I have fond memories of walking through the rice paddies to get to my school. Would love to chat sometime. Any conveniant times to Skype?

    • Hey Jordan! I am free most mornings between 9 and 11 my time. I should always be signed in on my mobile but don’t have video capabilities. Give me a ring when it’s good for you.

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