Bali is famous for its beautiful rice paddies and the Ubud area has some of the best. Tourists flock to Tegalalang Rice Paddies just nearby and it is worthwhile taking the opportunity to view them.
The Shala Bali is surrounded by extensive rice paddies irrigated by streams and man-made water channels.
There are up to 3 rice growing cycles per year in the luxuriant area where we are located.
When the previous rice crop has been cut the bare short stalks are left in the ground. The farmer then floods the rice paddies by re-diverting and unblocking water channels and letting water flow in to the area until the water is about 25cm deep.. When the time is right he will begin to plough the flooded areas bare-footed behind a 2 wheeled tilling machine. The water is retained in the areas during this time and the fields become like very liquid mud.
Rice seeds are planted to germinate in small fenced off areas until plants are formed big enough to handle.
The farmer then wades through the muddy water planting rows at an impressive speed. All the plants are the same width apart and the orderly pattern formed is a sight to see.
In our area rice takes around 4 months to grow from seeds to deep green mature plants, taking about 90 days to produce flower heads and a further 30 days as the seed heads ripen from green to golden yellow, ready for harvest.
The rice plants are cut by hand then pushed through a threshing machine that shakes the rice husks off the plants. Finally the rice is put into bags to be taken away for drying in the sun or in rice warehouses.
Then the cycle starts again.