As I mentioned in a few posts in the spring, I planted several varieties of rice (Oryza sativa) this year as a bit of an experiment and because I have always been fascinated with rice plants and rice cultivation. Now the first of the rice plants are starting to put out heads! Obviously there will not be enough for a meal but I would be quite happy even if I just get to harvest a good amount of seed for next year.
Emerging head of 'Duborskian' rice (Oryza sativa 'Duborskian'), with a melon and sunflowers crowding in from the right
The rice plants beginning to head now are of the Russian 'Duborskian' variety which is sold by Maine-based Fedco Seeds and does not need to be flooded. Of the other varieties I am trying, 'Hmong Sticky' seems to be doing best, ahead of 'Carolina Gold', 'M-101', and 'Blue Bonnet', the last of which barely germinated to begin with. All of these still seem quite a ways from makings heads. Clearly they need more heat and water than 'Duborskian' to get going, and they are also larger-growing varieties. To be fair, 'Duborskian' and 'Hmong Sticky' might also have an advantage because they are planted in the open ground in the garden, whereas the other varieties are planted in a tub on the balcony where they can be kept flooded but receive less sun light and have to make do with potting mix rather than proper garden soil. Still, I am excited to see how far the different varieties get by the end of the summer.