Seven to ten days after beginning to soak and drain, soak and drain the rice seed, the radical (main root) can be seen emerging like a little white beak. We are ready to begin sowing the rice seed.
While we were waiting for germination, we cleaned our plug trays, set up tanks in which the rice seedlings will develop, and mixed our seed-starting soil. We have been successfully sowing rice seed in 128-cell plug trays since 2015. The trays will sit in shallow, sun-warmed water in low tanks lined with black plastic until time to transplant the seedlings into the paddies.
To grow out the seedlings, we fill the plug trays with a mix of materials. Over the years we have come up with a combination of our screened, organic, 3-year old compost with sterile mycorrhizal Promix (mostly peat and perlite) in equal parts. For good measure, we throw in some worm castings.
The plug trays are fill and then 2 or 3 germinated seeds are added to each cell, with a little extra material sprinkled on top.
The trays are added to the tanks, which sit in an unheated hoop-house. The nights are still cool, so insulation (row covers or rigid foam boards) is added to keep the heat in the tanks.
The germinated seeds are kept cosy with this system and will begin to put out their first leaves soon, promising a crop of rice in a few months!