Growing rice in Canada – some hopeful signs
I brought them inside at the end of summer – you can read about them up to that point in my September 5th blog entry. I thought that was that – a “technical success” in that I had plants, but no actual rice. But the plants were just too beautiful to throw out, so I brought them inside, to the south-facing window in my bedroom.
I didn’t think that the plants were doing much there, but now looking back to those September photos I can see that they have definitely bushed out. Interestingly, I left one bucket of plants downstairs, on my heated tile floor at my front entrance: more heat, much less light. Those plants have died. So clearly the light is what they really need.
I haven’t paid a real lot of attention to them – not even watering them to the point of keeping them always saturated like before (I wonder if that is what has stressed them to bloom?). But they’ve been looking great… And then, this morning, I went for a closer look and noticed that two of the plants (of a total of 12) have little blooms coming out – and it looks like few more will bloom soon.
So, the Tofino rice experiment is not yet over! I don’t anticipate getting more than a tablespoon or so of rice – but even if I can start to select for a line that is more cold-tolerant and faster-maturing, well… that will be a good start.
Next year I will do two things differently:
1. I will try to get a seed that is already from a colder climate (these were from California; I’ll see if I can get some from Japan).
2. And now that I have a garden in sunny Port Alberni, I will move some of my plants out there to see how they do.
And you know what is the most interesting thing about this? On this blog, I can check the stats, to find out what search terms people are using to find my site. And you know what the most common search term that leads people here is? “Growing rice in Canada”. So, even though this is not being talked about a lot in the media, it is pretty clear that it is on a lot of people’s minds.
I’ll keep you posted on what happens, so be sure to check back!