Planting–finally some green

Hey hey hey, look at this a post with the same month of the last.  I’m getting better at this.  🙂

So, in the last entry we’d been plowing all the fields.  That took a long time for a couple reasons: one, the tractor moves very very slowly, and two, we have to plow each field 3 times over.  So plowing can take the better part of a month depending on weather, the tractor, and other stuff.  But that’s OK, because during that month the little trays of seeds have a lot of time to grow up.  When they’re ready to plant those trays of brown dirt end up looking like this:

Pretty green, eh?  When we’re ready to plant we take these trays out to the field we’re planning to plant and line them up on one side like this:

This is so we can easily load them onto the planting machine.  Notice those white little things sticking out of the nae in the bottom of the above picture?  The rice roots have grown really thick throughout the dirt and have also grown through the holes in the bottom of the plastic trays, so you can’t rip the nae out to load onto the machine without messing everything up.  Those white things are like a long plastic knife that you shove down the tray to sever the roots from the bottom.  After that we load them onto the machine:

You can see them there in the back.  The machine can hold about 18 nae in one go (6 rows of 3).  We usually have to reload nae once or twice depending on the size of the field.  Our biggest field used about 120 nae, while our smallest used around 15.  The part part of the machine that plants the rice shoots looks like a really thin, sharp 3 fingered hand (2 fingers one opposing thumb).  It’ll rip about 2 shoots from a nae and plant it firmly in the dirt.  Quite an amazing machine.  We drive the planter up and down, up and down, up and down the fields like we did the tractor, trying to keep in a straight line:

Don't use the force, Luke.  Use the yellow pointer!

After a field is done, it looks like this:

All those little rice shoots, hoping to one day grow up and become a rice ball or sushi.

For most of our fields we used the planting machine and sprinkled them with pesticides and weed killers.  But for 3 fields we planted by hand and didn’t use pesticides or weed killers at all.  In the next post I’ll write a little bit about that.  And by the way I’m improving on my blog timing, it might even be next week!

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