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close this bookBetter Farming Series 21- Wet Paddy or Swamp Rice (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)
close this folderMaking a rice nursery
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHow to prepare the soil
View the documentSowing
View the documentPreparing the seeds
View the documentDisinfecting the seeds
View the documentTaking care of the nursery


14. Where should the nursery be made?

You can make a nursery on one of the checks of the rice field, or close to your house.

If the nursery is near the house, it is easier to look after.

If the nursery is on a check, it needs less work to transport the seedlings and to water.

There should always be a watchman near the nursery, to protect it against rats, birds, cows and goats.

For keeping watch over the nurseries and for watering them, it is best for several farmers to come to an agreement to make their nurseries close together.

How big should your nursery be?

Your nursery should be big enough to give you a choice, so that you can choose from it the best seedlings, and also later replace any seedlings that do not grow.

The right size for the nursery is one tenth of the size of the rice field to be planted.

For example: if you have a rice field of 6000 square metres, make a nursery of 600 square metres.

The nursery is one tenth of the size of the field to be planted

How to prepare the soil

15. The soil of the nursery must be tilled, so that the earth is loose, without weeds, moist and fertile. This work is done with a hoe, 1 month before sowing in the nursery (and therefore 2 months before the right time for transplanting).

Put in 200 kilogrammes of manure per 100 square metres and turn over the soil. Manure improves the soil structure and adds mineral salts to the soil.

Then let the soil rest for 2 weeks. Break up clods of earth and remove weeds. When the soil is well tilled and quite loose, divide the nursery into strips 1.5 to 2 metres wide, 10 to 20 metres long, and 20 centimetres high.

These strips are palled beds.

Several nursery beds


16. Before sowing, break up all small lumps of earth, fill up hollows and remove little stones.

Apply chemical fertilizers.

For each 100 square metres, apply:

1.5 kg ammonium sulfate 1 kg dicalcium phosphate 1 kg potassium chloride.

Spread these fertilizers all over the nursery. For example: on a bed 20 metres long and 2 metres wide, apply:

600 grammes ammonium sulfate 400 grammes dicalcium phosphate 400 grammes potassium chloride.

This nursery of 40 square metres will give you enough seedlings for a rice field of 400 square metres.

17. Choosing the seeds.

To get good yields, you must have very fine seedlings. To get very fine seedlings, you must sow very good varieties. Research stations and centres have discovered suitable varieties for the sold and climate of every region. Always sow unhusked rice grains, that is to say, paddy.

Preparing the seeds

18. Before sowing, it is best to pregerminate the seeds and disinfect them.

Why pregerminate seeds?
To pregerminate means making the paddy grains germinate before sowing.
If you pregerminate, more of the paddy grains you sow will grow.
They will grow faster.
The rats and the birds will not eat them so easily.

How to pregerminate seeds Put the paddy grains into a bucket. Fill the bucket with water. Leave the grains in the water for 24 hours. Remove all the grains that rise to the surface: they will not grow.

Afterwards, put the grains into baskets or sacks, and Ieave them there for 1 to 2 days. The grains then begin to germinate; you will see a tiny white spot on the grains.

Never pregerminate the grains more than three days before sowing.

Never pregerminate the grains more than three days before sowing

Disinfecting the seeds

19. To disinfect the seeds, put a little disinfectant, for example Panogem, into the water which you use for pregerminating.

20. Sowing.

Sow the rice grains in the nursery 1 month before the date of transplanting the seedlings.

Broadcast your seed.

Use 6 kilogrammes of paddy for each 100 square metres.

For example: in the size of the nursery is 40 square metres, use 2.5 kilogrammes of paddy.

Then cover the grains with very fine earth.

Taking care of the nursery

21. The nursery must be protected against animals, rats and birds.

If you have put your nursery close to the nurseries of other farmers, protection is easier.

There needs to be a watchman, especially during the first week.

Put straw on the beds.

Straw protects the baby seedlings against birds and against the sun.

Remove all weeds.

If the earth gets too hard, water the nursery in the morning and in the evening.