FIRST STAGE – PREPARATION OF THE SOIL:
The first step of rice cultivation consists in the preparation of the rice fields: before sowing rice, a number of steps must be carried out in order to obtain a well crumbled, fertile, and leveled off soil. Nowadays, all of these tasks are carried out by specifically designed machines, whereas a long time ago, trawling tools pulled by animals, and sometimes even by people were used.
Cleaning of irrigation ditches and sluice gate is fundamental as it enables to adjust the slope between various rice fields so as to create a waterfall one after another.
- Fertilizing is done to increase the natural fertility of soil, adding valuable nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure or chemical fertilizer may be used.
- Plowing: during the plow, the most superficial layer of the soil is turned over so as to increase the aeration, without which the seeds cannot sprout, to remove and flip over the weeds and pests.
- Harrowing is carried out to chop up the clods of soil that had been formed while plowing. This process helps to obtain a better incorporation of fertilizers and leveling out of the soil.
- Smoothing and leveling: this activity is conducted to give seedlings as smooth and flat bed as possible, which is a key factor to maintain constant water level in the rice paddy. Today the operation is facilitated by suitable laser detectors.
SECOND STAGE – WET PLANTING
The second stage of rice cultivation focuses on the seeding technique, which according to the traditional crop should be preceded by submersion: flooding of paddy field with 3-5 cm of water. The seed, as in broadcast seeding, is protected from sudden changes in temperature, and within 8 days will swell and emit the “sprouts”. At this point the rice field needs to be drained, so that a sturdy root system can be developed, and then flooded again. However, in the past, rice was seeded in small plots of land and then the small seedlings were transplanted into paddy fields by female workers.
SECOND STAGE – DRY PLANTING
Today, most of farms of Park of Rice use “dry planting” method, where the field is not submerged. The rice is sown 2 cm under the ground and germinates through the soil moisture, then, when the seedling has reached the length of 10 cm, it proceeds to flood the rice for the entire growth. This technique, although it’s less charming than the previous one (the submerged rice paddies are wonderful during half season sunsets) it’ s cheaper in terms of environment, not only because it results in a smaller amount of water used in spring, but also minor use of insecticides as lack of water helps to avoid the development of insects that could threaten the germ of the newborn rice.
Find out more about other stages of the Rice Road: