Spring is here, and it it is time to start planting rice. Once it finally dries up from all the rain we’ve had, we will be ready to get started. We received three inches of rain last night, and it will keep us out of the field for probably six days. The drainage ditches were just starting to run down from the ten inches of rain we had three weeks ago, and now everything is flooded again. I would like to be planting our crops right now, but the rain allows us the to catch up on paperwork for both the rice business and the farm.
One good thing about the rain is that it allows us to get projects completed that we would not normally have time to complete. We are using this time to start planning the garden. I am always excited about the idea of fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, okra, and many other fruits and vegetables. My wife likes to plant flowers to cut throughout the summer. One thing I did differently this year was planting a cover crop over the winter to help improve the soil in the garden. This will hopefully have multiple benefits. I hope to control the weeds with the mat of vegetation that is left behind, and these plants will decompose to increase the organic matter in the soil. Rice hulls were added to the soil to improve the soil health by decomposing and providing nutrients for our plants. It is a nice way to use a by-product of the rice milling process. These hulls can also be used for chicken bedding. We are considering getting some backyard chickens this year, so I will let you know how that goes.
Both farming and gardening are wonderful opportunities for teaching our three young boys about the cycle of life and how our food is produced. We also hope to use both to instill in them a good work ethic and to show them the importance of a working knowledge of agriculture. It is my hope that by telling our farming story, I can teach our customers more about their food and the value of knowing their farmer.
Written by David Arant, Jr.