true golden color

© EunYoung Sebazco


I feel gratified in this month of October. I think that this stage of the rice plants are the best appearance visually if I could see them as ornamental plants. Mature grains are turned in to a golden color and they reflect on the lime green leaves which cheer up the fall season. I also love to see the drooped panicles which makes me bow. Now, it will begin to celebrate the Harvest season.

Go go summer

© EunYoung Sebazco


News! Rice panicles (heads) are developing- They have been visible to the naked eye. Since we have had a cold summer season, the growing stages have shown up very slowly. It had made me nervous, but FINALLY I see the small grains. Hope this hot summer feast will be continued for a few more weeks for Koshihikari. Go go summer, no Autumn yet.

inspire us

© EunYoung Sebazco

yoshi july

Two of my best friends visited the rice program today. Yoshi Kousaka (Sushi Master) is an executive Chef at Jewel Bako and MiHyun Han, the GM at Don’s Bogam. Chef Yoshi demonstrated how to make Onigiri (rice ball) and fresh Tsukemono (pickled vegetable). Summer camp youths enjoyed the process of making and then tasting. Chef Yoshi and MiHyun have consistently participated since I started the rice project. I believed that dining and cooking with the rice was important to understand why we grow rice all over the world. To see a product truly grow from a seed into a nourishing meal is an important aspect of our program. I cannot thank them enough for what they brought to us, accomplished with us and how much they inspire us.

bubble in the water

© EunYoung Sebazco

rice july 21

As you imagine many elements has to work together. So, in order to make as close a natural habitat as possible in man-made rice paddies, a Solar Aquarium air pump has been added to assist in creating an ecological community found in natural rice paddies. The Solar Aquarium air pump creates bubbles to keep the water moving and circulating. And bubbling air maybe add some oxygen. (Also the fish help to circulate oxygen around the rice as well.)  Sunny days save the energy from the solar panel to make bubbles! pop! pop!

Rice plant and Fish

© EunYoung Sebazco

rice & fish

Rice-fish farm is the environmentally friendly best practices. Releasing fish in the created extensive artificial wetlands (rice paddies) helps insect control and creates the ecosystem. Rice plants also provided shade, thus keeping the water cool and allowing fish to remain active even during the hottest months. Did you know fish poop is the primary source of nitrogen in any aquaponic system? I hope they are ready to work on rice paddies!

Rice season starts!

© EunYoung Sebazco

rice seeds

Rice season starts! (Early May)

I have been involved with the rice project at Randall’s Island Urban Farm since 2011. My small curiosity had got me into starting to grow Rice plants, which are still the first known rice paddies in New York City. With my grandmother’s tutorage and my horticulture bible, we had a successful rice season and harvest. We have had some challenges and small issues, but we have improved and are excited to have the 4th Season. This year, we are growing Italian rice; “Carnaroli” and “Vialone,” which are from Melotti’s Farm. I look forward to seeing different varieties of rice growing in our rice paddies at the Urban Farm.

Lessons from past

I have few books that I have read over and over again for reference. ”Just enoughLessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan“ (Written by Azby Brown) is one.  Few years ago, when I had a big questions about sustainable gardening, this book lead me out of the dark tunnel.
justenoughtitleblockv2-500px The stories about how people lived in Japan a few hundreds years ago during the Edo period just before Japan opened up to western culture. The people of the Edo period intelligently managed their homes, fields, and forests; developed innovative designs for the things they needed, and maintained a sustainable society. While I was reading, I found a few interesting drawings that captured my eye. It was Illustrations of rice cultivation. It tells how to prepared the field, how to sow, transplant, harvest, dry, thresh, hull, winnow, polish, along with the rice cultivation cycle chart for the season. It was based 300 hundreds years ago, but I found out not much has changed these days. Our rice paddy was a miniature man-made pond compared the Edo rice field. We had tried to make an environment as close as what Edo period. As you see the growth illustration during the growing season, natural habitats thrived in the rice paddies. A few examples are the way we created extensive artificial wetlands releasing fish to help insect control and the irrigation system, and planting trumpet-shaped flower Morning glory along the rice paddy to invite birds.
just-enough_wetland-1-e1331693095102In the book at the end of the rice chapter, it also shows the diagram of how the people of the Edo period utilized every byproduct with food, household, fuel, mulch, compost and so on. The “zero-waste” ideal! As I learned from the book, I am hoping that our rice paddy helps us to understand not only food culture, but also sustainable culture.