Updated: Jun 11
The germinated seeds are sown and sitting in warm water, in tanks covered with insullation board at night.
Every morning, we uncover the tanks and, after a few days we see GREEN! It's always a good sign; it means the rice seeds are happy.
A green haze indicates strongly-growing seedlings. Even if some seeds are on the surface, their roots will sort themselves out and drill down deeply in the plugs.
Every year since 2014, we have grown the rice seedlings in 128-plug trays (a la Akiogi), but the seedlings cannot grow very large root systems in the small space of the plugs, so this year we are trying something different. We have sowed half of the seeds in undivided trays filled with the same seed-starting soil mix as the plug trays. To sow the seeds with even spacing, Ian created a board with 128 dibbles (made of tubing segments 1 cm long attached with round-headed screws.
Simply constructed of 3/4" plywood with old kitchen cupboard handles, this device will last for years. Then, if this is the tool we want, we can make a more permanent indexer. Pressed into the soil of the tray, this pegged board makes sowing the seed easy.
The pegged holes with seeds disappear when watered with a spray, but the spacing becomes apparent as the seedlings emerge.
We will treat these flats the same as the others and see if we have better seedlings with stronger, longer root systems after the next 4-5 weeks of development.
Within a few days the seeds have sprouted in the these "full" flats, too, and are looking good. The seedlings are growing fast.
Now we just have to wait and watch, keep up the water level in the tanks, and protect the flats at night as long as the temperatures are low. We will begin a fertilizing regime next week. Meanwhile, we have given all of the flats a spray of EM to innoculate the seed mix with micro-organisms and lower the pH in general (EM has a pH of 2.9, while our well water is naturally very basic, with a pH of 8).