Rice Hulls and Alfalfa

I want to talk a little bit about using rice hulls and alfalfa from a feed store vs buying them from a company who intends them to be used as soil amendments.

For one, unless you cook both to make any potential seeds included in either no longer viable, they most definitely will sprout on you. We have learned that the hard way and will be picking them out of our garden for a while. It’s definitely a trade off though. For 50 lbs of both (~$25) you pay at minimum the price for only 10-25 lbs of just one that has been prepared to be used as a soil amendment. The only company who sells parboiled hulls in bulk for agricultural purposes is Riceland but it is not easy to find in SoCal (PBH Nature’s Media Amendment). Boiling both before use isn’t that big a deal in smaller volumes and if you don’t mind weeding then it’s not a problem at all but if larger quantities were needed I might think twice. The rice hulls seem to be the worst in that regard. We’ve had them come up from depths of five or six inches and they seem to grow incredibly well in California despite having one of the hottest of summers on record. That said, I personally would still probably buy these amendments from a feed store because I’m cheap and a little bit of work in the kitchen once a season isn’t terrible considering we’ve saved at least $100.