Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rice paddy planting season

I’ve been meaning to write about rice planting for a while since there’s a large paddy behind my apartment. For the past couple of years I’ve seen an old man and a couple of his friends or equally old family members maintaining the usually barren plot of land just outside my kitchen window. 

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There seems to be quite a bit of work involved in getting a rice paddy ready for planting. First the farmer tills the dried out top soil and gets all the trash and weeds out of the field. Then he throws down some fertilizer. Eventually he floods the field with one of the many local water aqueducts you can find nearly everywhere alongside public roads in the countryside of Japan.

What I’ve noticed about other rice farmers they generally grow the rice seedlings offsite in a greenhouse till they are a couple of inches tall. Then they bring all the little seedlings in for their final home in the rice paddy.

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Finally comes the planting after the field has been flooded out. The farmer that owns the field behind my apartment uses a special tractor to do all the work but I’ve also see equally old people out in high water boots sloshing through the muck planting each rice grass blade by hand.

Once he flooded the field the frogs came out of the woodwork. Now every night I get a frog symphony whether I like it or not even when the windows are closed tight.

There isn’t much more to it. He’ll come around every so often to clean out rubbish from the aqueduct that feeds water into his field but that’s it. Eventually when fall rolls around the field will be about waist to shoulder height and it will be time to harvest.

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