This variety was sent to me from the Czech Republic along with a number of rice varieties to trial. One variety sent was Black Madras, which is mainly grown as an ornamental rice due to its vibrant purplish-black foliage, which turns crimson in the Fall. The Kais was remarkably similar to the Black Madras with the exception that the Black Madras did not produce any viable seed. The Kais did produce seed and was the very last variety I harvested this season. It is easily a 135 day variety from transplant. I grew it as an upland type and it did fine. I am not sure of the eating quality but the seed yield is very modest. The plants are dwarf (2 foot) with heavy tillering. Kais had zero issues with lodging during periods of heavy rainfall. I am concluding that Kais is a type of Black Madras, possibly adapted to drier growing conditions and a shorter season.
Rice seeds should be soaked in water 24 hours before planting. I start my plants indoors in April in plug flats, 50’s and transplant into beds after the last frost date. I recommend not leaving plants in flats for more than three weeks as the starts will yellow easily and weaken when root-bound. Here in Northern Indiana, I plant my rice plugs the last week of May. I plant into 4′ wide beds. This makes adding bird netting over the tops of the plants an easy chore using 5′ t-posts and twine. The plants are spaced 9″ apart in the beds. Upland rice requires about the same amount of water as corn, around 1″ per week during the growing season. The plants will begin to form seed heads in August. At maturity the rice husks will turn to a golden brown and the rice seed inside will be hard. I harvest in late September, cutting the whole plant and bundling into groups of 4. These bundles are then hung in my drying shed for a few weeks until the plant is fully dry. At this point threshing is easy by hand (pulling the grains off) or using a threshing machine. I use a treadle (foot) powered thresher. Rice has an inedible husk that needs to be removed before eating. The most primitive way to accomplish this is by pounding the grains with a stick or mallet on a wood surface (tree stump) in order to loosen the husks. There are small rice dehullers available but very difficult to locate. Brill Engineering offers online tutorials on how to build a small dehuller using easy to locate “off the shelf” parts. http://www.brillengineering.com/
- Kais Ornamental Rice
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