The best organic farming always is when you know how to use nature as it is.

As our knowledge of the harmful effects of agricultural chemicals grows, more and more farmers and consumers are rediscovering their organic history, returning to the methods of old, such as plucking insect pests and weeds by hand and hoe, and amending soil with natural fertilizers—compost. The joy in growing your own food is the joy in savoring its delicious flavor and in providing good food for others to enjoy. Discover how to rebuild your garden with an organic foundation and produce the vegetables, fruits and herbs that will nourish your family and the families of those who purchase your produce.
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Rice paddy field terraces in Southeast Asia

The construction of Rice Terraces date back to ancient times. Terraced fields are used widely in rice farming in east, south, and southeast Asia, as well as other places. It comes with no surprise when two of the most populated countries on earth like India and China, that populate around 40% of the planet, along with Vietnam and Indonesia (more than 50 million inhabitants), along with the rest of South East Asia have rice as their number one consumed crop. Rice makes up for around 20% of the worlds nutritional intake or in a more fancy manner dietary energy supply.

Water supply, the most important aspect of rice terraces, is provided from rivers and mountain streams; irrigation flows through the same complex canals and river ways that are centuries old. The different levels of rice terraces allow water to flow successively down each level. A seed is first planted on a seedbed, after a couple of weeks, the seed is transplanted to rice terraces filled with six inches of water, otherwise known as paddies. This technique gives the slightly more mature seed a head start over any competing weeds. As the seed matures, the water levels in the paddies decrease— by full maturity, the grounds should be completely dry, allowing for an easy harvest.

 Rice field Bali

The Tegallalang Rice Fields in Bali Indonesia are definitely one of the best rice fields on Bali. The way these rice fields clime up to the mountain is breathtaking. Tegallang alone has an outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice terraces on the slopes across the valley. The high roadside location is cool and breezy and it is a well-known spot for tourists to stop and take photos. Painters and nature lovers also enjoy visiting this spot, and there are numerous art kiosks and cafes near the ledge offering their ware.

The construction of rice terraces is not an easy task and require constant maintenance, yet the same method has been passed on for many centuries. After choosing an ideal location, a pond where water will be retained should be constructed on the highest point of the terrace. Builders then lay down marking stones that act as the foundation for retaining walls that help keep the terraces in tact. Since this technique alters the natural state of the earth, multiple layers of retaining walls backed with gravel support needs to be constructed. Next, eight to ten inches of earth and topsoil are transported to the newly constructed rice terraces. The soil is then stomped and smoothed to create a flat surface suitable for agriculture. 

 Rice field Philippines

Flooding the land with water marks the completion of a rice terrace. A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing semiaquatic rice. Paddy cultivation should not be confused with cultivation of deep water rice. In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of sloped plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resemble steps, for the purposes of more effective farming. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease both erosion and surface runoff, and may be used to support growing crops that require irrigation, such as rice.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces in the Philippines, which follow the natural contours of the mountains, only enhance the region’s rugged natural beauty. They also epitomize a harmonic, sustainable relationship between humans and their environment. These fields, and the knowledge to farm and sustain them, have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The structures' original builders used stone and mud walls to carefully carve and construct terraces that could hold flooded pond fields for the cultivation of rice. They also established a system to water these plots by harvesting water from mountaintop forests. These incredible engineering feats were done by hand as was (and is) the farming itself.

One of the benefits of terraces is water retention and flood adjustment. The terraces function as dams by holding rainwater, which slowly seeps underground and gently flows into the rivers without flooding them. At the same time, the terraces serve as filters that purify the water. Another benefit is landslide prevention. Many rice terraces are located in landslide-prone areas. This may be due to the fact that slopes resulting from landslides retain water well and thus are relatively easy to till. Regular maintenance of the land surface through its use as rice fields leads to landslide prevention.

 Rice field China

Another example of rice terraces is the the Longji Rice Terraces in Guilin, China. The terraces have become one of the most important tourist destination. They are located in Heping District, Longsheng County, Guilin Prefecture, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Guilin. The Longji Rice Terraces are at an altitude of 300–1,110 meters (1,000–3,700 feet), and the gradients of some rice terraces reach 50°. Rice terraces are hilly or mountainous slopes claimed from nature for cultivation, usually by minority peoples. Some are hundreds (or even thousands) of years old.

Rice terraces benefit the environment and its inhabitants. Their construction allows for farmers to sow and harvest land otherwise not suitable for farming. This method of farming is highly effective for growing plants that require high amounts of water. Terraces conserve the ecosystem. Rice terraces support slow, natural circulation in the ecosystem, cycling the water held by the nearby forests and woods and nurturing organisms that make their home in that water, such as frogs and insects. The landscape of rice terraces is a work of art created by humans for the purpose of producing food. The terraces blend in with the natural scenery and give viewers a great sense of peace and comfort.

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