chas
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:25 am
Location: thailand

Gardening in a paddy field in Thailand (help!)

helo well here i am in the middle of rice fields in thailand just had some plastic and tubing layed to start growing cucumbers and they seem to be coming on great, however im not a gardener and have never claimed to be ,

So the soil seems to be very similar to clay when wet very fine and velvety, but when dry it's like stone, water just runs bie werever it needs to be,

I have made little 2inch ponds around the base of the plants and filled with stones but the water seems to just lie there mostly.
what would antbody sugest i mix with the soil to give my dieing plants a breath of life.

Unfortunatly the covered 2 acres was done much later after i had planted all the bana trees and the likes other wise i feel i would have just covered all areas with much the same and drip fed them as well but it is to late now.

Im not shore if partial sun block would do any good as it is so hot i feel the soil would dry just the same.

Over to you! xxxx

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Did you say 2 acres? What exactly do you mean by plastic and tubing? What is that for?

Your description of rice paddies suggests wet conditions, but further along you seem to be saying you need to drip irrigate.

OK. I think because growing conditions are so different, and folks posting here have wide and wildly varying scales of "gardening" space, it would help us to help you if you described exactly what size area you are talking about, current and next few months climate conditions (day/night temperature), what kind of rainfall you have (too much, just right, too little and need to supplement watering).

Also, is cucumber the right crop to be growing right now in your area? I'm guessing that would mean it's getting pretty warm. Is cucumber a popular crop to grow locally?

"little 2inch ponds around the base of the plants and filled with stones" -- I can't picture it. It seems to me that would make the soil too wet for cucumbers.

I'm really intrigued actually, because I'm trying to grow rice in a tiny space in my garden. I had a tiny harvest last year and am planning to expand a little this year. (When I say "tiny", I mean [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12804]tiny[/url].) I'm also planning to grow water chestnuts since they seem to require similar growing conditions as rice. I had great success growing Mint, Peanuts and Edamame (soybeans) on the raised soil surrounding my tiny rice paddy. I tried melons but they turned out watery and not very flavorful.

My immediate thought, therefore, is that if you build raised beds, you could grow most vegetables above the wet soil, but if you're saying you need to irrigate (insufficient rain) that may not work out. Also, if you're talking 2 acres, my experience is with very small spaces and my experiences may not help you so much.
Last edited by applestar on Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Soil that doesn't drain water is death to most plants.

We've had a number of discussions of clay soils here. If you type
"clay soil AND amending" into the Search the Forum feature you will find a lot written here already.

Here's one thread about clay soils to start you off:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21736&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=clay+soil+amending&start=15

Bottom line is you need to add lots of organic matter to it to loosen it up, make air spaces and drainage; that includes compost, composted manure, earthworm castings, coffee grounds, leaves, sawdust, woodchips, whatever you can get your hands on a lot of.

You can start with a small area at a time to amend to turn into garden soil.

chas
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:25 am
Location: thailand

Hi again its the thai gardener here! well firstly im afraid i didnt explain myself properly. the main bit wich isnt to do with me has palstic sheeting over 6inch raised furows with drip feed water fed to it and cucumbers poping out of holes .
the bit around the house which has Banana trees herbs and tomatoes and large areas of hope but to no avail, all the ubove are directly under the sun but are watered before sun rise in the morning and at night.
however the soil around these plants is so hard and clay like it is virtualy inpenatrable. So realy i was wondering if there was any method of allowing water to reach were it ought to more easely.
I though of ( but a little late) about planting plastic pipes in the ground wich run down to the roots so as to just pop the hose in there and then know youve done good?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

OK. I see now. So what you need is a way to water your plants in hard clay soil. As rainbowgardener said, ultimately, what you want to do is to get more organic matter in the soil. It's possible that your plants are dying not only from the lack of water, but are having trouble growing roots in the hard soil. Also, clay soil, as you noticed, become waterlogged when wet, driving the tiny air molecules that the roots need to "breath" out of the soil.

For now, let's just concentrate on watering your plants and see if they'll come back. I would dig a shallow trench all the way around the plants in a ring (connect your 2 inch ponds together, perhaps?), piling the dirt in a ridge on the outside to hold the water in. They should be far enough out from the stems of the plants so as not to damage their roots.

Rather than filling them with stones, fill them with a mulch of plant material. Anything will do -- straw, leaves, grass, weeds -- just cut them up and lay them out to dry in the sun before using. Don't use anything with flowers or seeds on them. Fill the moat, then mound up the mulch inside the circle, almost but NOT TOUCHING the stems (you could fill this space with the rocks if they're small). When you water, thoroughly wet the mulch and fill the moat. This will help keep the moisture from evaporating and give your plants a deep drink.

Hope that helps.

Return to “What Doesn't Fit Elsewhere”