For centuries, rice has become the main course of many family meals worldwide because of its low cost and high nutritional features. That offers the reason why growing rice is one of the most important tasks of any country, especially in current drought conditions. At this moment, hydroponics is rising as a perfect solution for modern agriculture. If you are looking for the answer to “How To Grow Rice Hydroponically?”, here is all you need!
Can You Plant Rice Hydroponically?
If you are wondering whether you can hydroponically plant rice, you can try to apply this method right away. Even though you may find this a little harder than growing other vegetables that frequently use hydroponic methods (like lettuce), it’s still a great alternative option for our future agriculture due to the increase in global drought.
Anyone who targets growing rice indoors must have known of hydroponics and its challenges to economic effectiveness.
Normally, hydroponics goes with crops at a high price. Let’s do simple math with lettuce and rice. Lettuce grown by hydroponic method has a price of 1.40$ each pound. Meanwhile, with the massive number of farmers and the technology improvement, the rice price is just 0.71$ for one pound. That number can even go down when the supplied amount surpasses the demand for the good crops.
So the lettuce retail price is almost double the rice price, which means that lettuce is more profitable for your business. At some point, the high price of this plant has covered the cost of operating and overall brings you profit.
Is it right for me to apply hydroponic wheat?
For now, you might hesitate and wonder about that question. It is understandable for anyone to have this question due to the fact that rice is not an economical option for applying hydroponics. However, with the drought situation and the increasing famine, growing rice hydroponically might become an acceptable alternative in the future.
A perk hydroponics brings to you is the lower requirement for water compared to the soil method. In particular, rice crops need water submerged to have the maximum yield amount. Hydroponics solution, meanwhile, allows rice roots to absorb nutrients and water from a reservoir at a minimum evaporation amount.
However, the downside of this perk is the quite low yield that might not be enough for a weak supply with each crop. And as rice crops take five times longer for growth compared to lettuce, the overall outcome is not an ideal option.
How long does it take to grow rice?
Specifically, while lettuce takes you only 45 days to fully mature, rice needs 180 days, which decreases the life cycle of crops you can have a year.
For all of that, you must prepare yourself for all the disadvantages you possibly face during the growing process. To help you have a closer look at the Hydroponic method, let’s continue to find out steps in growing rice at home.
How To Grow Rice Hydroponically
Before starting your hydroponic garden, it’s necessary for you to pick up an appropriate system first. The processes offered with the deep water system are more suitable for growing rice than the famous Nutrient Film Technique that requires a shallow water stream. But whatever method you go with, here are the essential steps on how to grow rice indoors.
Step 1: Prepare The Seed
In the first step, you need to choose the seeds that can be normal or brown rice grains. Before germinating, it is essential to soak them in water for about 36 hours as the minimum, and then let them dry for the next day.
Step 2: Germinate Your Rice
Once the grains dry, you use one bucket for sprouting the seeds. The appropriate medium must be a mixture of compost, soil, and full of water. And those seeds will germinate after two weeks.
In this germination process, a tip for you is to place that container in a greenhouse. Simply, the indoor environment allows you to adjust the overall temperature higher that is optimal for seeds growing. So, you can also search for more in-depth knowledge from rice production manuals available on the Internet in order to have a full understanding of growing rice methods.
Step 3: Taking Care Of Your Field
To make the hydroponic growing process become simpler, you can use a hydroponic pot for seeding. It is also important to keep the roots eradicate from the soil so that the growing tree has a great ability to absorb nutrients and ensure the best conditions for its growth.
If your hydroponic rice stays in a greenhouse, you can adjust the room temperature to 77°F, providing an ideal environment for the seeds to grow quickly. Leaving them there for about six months, and you can harvest the hydroponic crops.
Step 4: Reaping The Rice
After six months of growth, the rice is ready for harvesting. In the reaping process, it is possible to apply the traditional rice stalks. It would be best if you never forgot to let the rice dry by covering them with paper or newspaper in two weeks. As needed for an easier hull removal, you can spend an hour roasting the dried stalks. Then you will have rice ready for consumption.
Are you still worried about whether or not you should try to grow your rice hydroponically? If you are in the balance, you can consider applying the aquaponic method. Let’s continue reading to know more about Aquaponics rice as the following part is all you need.
Growing Rice In Aquaponics
Aquaponics is different from hydroponics at the nutrient that the rice needs and absorbs. The aquaponics method uses fish waste as the main nourishment for plants; meanwhile, the hydroponics still have the traditional industrialized nutrient in the growing process. Regarding the other aspects in harvesting, seeding, and temperature, both applications are the same.
You might be surprised that fish waste can be a supplement for rice. With the first name of “fish-rice system”, this practice appeared about 2000 years ago at a simple application. The process ran by leaving fish along the rice under the submerged locations. The added fishes played an important role in the nutrient cycle, which increased the yields of farmers at that time by 0.8 tons per hectare.
The question is, why don’t more people apply this method? Simply because there are some points making the Aquaponics become complicated.
When growing rice with this technique, you must first maintain healthy and clean water so that the fish can stay strong. The temperature and pH are also important to keep the fish alive and offer the plant’s source of nutrients.
Not only that, the required number of fish in one location is also essential to keep the process running smoothly. While too many fish might lead to water pollution and fish death, not enough fish can impact the deficiency of the rice crop.
Despite the harness of Aquaponics, this method somehow solves the most concerning problem of hydroponics – low profits. By combining planning rice with growing fish, the general output might be doubled as the fish price is relatively high.
Fish and rice cultivation has been applied for quite some time in Asia countries. For the early period, rice farmers search for a solution allowing them to raise their economic situation. Adding fish in the cultivation is a perfect practice, which does not only encourage their yield of rice but also offers fish as protein for the meals every day or even a food source for trading.
Another plus point that might make you love Aquaponics is the fully organic process of growing rice without the requirement for any harmful chemicals. For hydroponics, you still need the primary nutrient from chemicals to have a strongly developed rice. But with Aquaponics, if you feed fish with organic nourishment like worms or food left from your daily meals, you can guarantee the totally organic for your rice.
You might now have a clear view on How To Grow Rice Hydroponically? At the moment, the hydroponic application might not be an ideal choice yet, but it can be the future solution when global water shortages become more serious. In case you want to apply a new rice-growing method and make sure the economic income, it is possible for you to consider Aquaponics as an alternative for hydroponic. At first, you can start on a small scale and see which option will work out well for you. Hope you have a great rice crop!