How to Grow Saffron?
Saffron is called the red gold, because of its price. As you know, it is the most expensive spice in the world. However, you can grow it yourself, even in your own garden. You may ask how? Do not worry it is not hard, you can grow saffron if you comply with the conditions this herd needs. In this article, Queen of Flowers will explain these conditions and how to grow saffron.
What is Saffron?
Saffron is a well-known spice all around the word. It is called in different names like golden or sunshine spice or red gold, but its scientific name is Crocus Sativus. Actually, Crocus Sativus is the name of the flowers, which has three red stigmas. These stigmas are saffron.
In many sources, this spice is introduced as one of the strongest and best herbal medications. In others, it is just spice. We claim that this is both a spice with a glamorous aroma and special color, and an herbal medication with incredible properties and health benefits.
To grow saffron, you should provide the needed conditions. Here is the explanation for these conditions.
The Planting processes
The best time for planting these spice bulbs or corms is the early fall. You can harvest the flowers in October. Most gardening and agricultural sources said that the flowers bloom in 3 weeks, but this process may need more time. You should be patient. Your flowers may bloom in six or eight weeks.
The time and climate are really important in growing this spice, try to comply all the desired conditions. We gathered these conditions for you, let’s check them together.
When and where?
In starting each work, first we should study and gather the information about the job. In growing herbs, we should learn about the conditions that the desired herd would grow. Let’s check out these conditions for growing saffron.
This herb grows in the full sun and dry places. Experts say that the hardiness zone should be between 5 to 8. These are the ideal climate properties to grow your spice.
As you know, almost 92 percent of this spice grow and harvest in Iran, Khorasan. These places have a desert like climate, the best climate to grow saffron. If you do not live in the place with this climate, you should simulate this.
You have to choose well-draining or sandy soil to grow saffron. The desired soil PH is between 6 to 7. You can plant your spice in the box or milk carets. You can plant the bulbs in the boxes in order to make the desired conditions.
Crocus cannot tolerate high humidity; the best range of humidity to grow this herb is 40 to 50 percent. High humidity could affect the quality of our Crocus. It means that over 50 percent humidity would make the flowers with less quality.
Light and temperature
These flowers need full sun to grow.
The best temperature to grow the golden spice is between 50 to 90 Fahrenheit degrees. The average is 70-Fahrenheit degrees, which is the exact and best temperature to plant and grow this spice. These flowers would not tolerate the colder weather for a long time.
First watering should be one week after planting. Do not over water the flowers. Crocus would be more damaged from overwatering than under watering.
These flowers need regular watering during growth and blooming, but the amount of watering depends on the climate and regions. Fields in the rainy spring region needs less water than the dry and warm spring areas.
You should test the soil for the second watering, 4 days after first watering, press your fingers in the soil, if it is bone-dry, you should water your flowers, if it is still soggy the watering amount should be decreased.
The field needs sufficient nutrients to grow Crocus. The field should fertilize once a year. You should amend the soil with organic fertilizers at planting time, or sprinkle a granular fertilizer before planting in spring. Be careful fertilizers should not touch the corms; it is harmful for the corms.
Some animals, make problems for you and your products, they may eat the corms. Chipmunks, squirrels are your fall problems and others like mice, moles, voles and rabbits eat foliage and corms in winter.
Try some method to fence your field or be sure to keep away these animals from your products.
Plant the corms in containers
You can plant your corms or bulbs in containers, and then put them in the place under the full sunlight and desired temperature. Plant your bulbs in 10- or 15-centimeters depth and about 10 centimeters apart from each other.
Saffron corms would grow better in the containers especially in milk crates than in the garden. These containers let you take them indoor in the cold and heavy rain days.
In addition, you can also plant the corms in the container in the fall and remove them in the garden after the foliage dies.
How to harvest Saffron?
These herbs need near 3 weeks to complete growing period. After that you can harvest the flowers. Do not forget that harvesting Crocus Sativus must be manually and need a lot of attention. The next step is plucking the stigmas from the flowers. Each flower has three stigmas. You can also use tweezers, but manual harvesting is more recommended.
Then you should dry all stigmas to make saffron. Let them dry in the warm and dry place while lay them out on the paper towel. After your spice dry, you should store it in dark, dry and cold place.
It is better, that when you want to use it, grain the threads. Then brew them.
You can brew the Crocus petals and drink it as tea. Traditional experts believe that it has some health benefits.
How much bulbs should be plant?
Almost all sources claim that in order to have one kilo of this spice you need to derive stigmas from about 75 thousand flowers. Do not worry! Actually, one kilo is too much for family use. Normal families with four members need mostly 50 to 150 gr of this spice per year. It means that you do not need to plant lots of flowers.
You should consider that each bulb would provide more than one flower. Start with 500 to 700 bulbs. Do not plant too much for the first time, experience the growing process and learn, after that you could expand your garden.
How to Store Saffron?
In order to store this worthy spice, you should store it in the dry, cold, and dark place. It is better to store it in the glass or metal container. These containers should be closed ones.
Light, humidity and temperature will affect your spice, therefore, keep it somewhere without these three factors.
When you avoid light, warm and humid, and comply the storing recommends, you can store it more than a year.
More tips about growing and harvesting the red gold
Here are some expert tips about growing and harvesting the red gold:
- The best time for planting saffron corms or bulbs is early fall.
- After about 5 years you can dig up and divide the corms, they are dormant in August. You can store them in dry and cold place or plant them in new soil immediately.
- The true plant that can produce real saffron is called Crocus Sativus.
- The larger corms store more energy but does not grow larger flowers. These corms are able to grow more flowers faster.
- Prepare and fertilizing the soil with organic nutritious once per year.
- Before the ground becomes frozen, plant your corms.
Reviewing the steps quickly
Let’s review how to grow saffron steps together in brief:
- Find the hospitalized environment with the desired properties.
- You need a dry place with full sun and warm temperature.
- If you want to plant your corms in the container, make your containers ready for planting.
- Plant your corms in 10 t0 15 centimeters depth and 10 centimeters apart from each other.
- Water them once or twice a week, based on the region.
- After 3 weeks you can harvest your flowers.
- Derive the stigmas from the flower.
- Put the stigmas on the paper towel and dry them.
- Now you can use or store your spice.
If you decide to grow your spice yourself in your own garden or greenhouse, you should first study and gather data about the process. Then you should provide the needed conditions. After all, you can start planting.
During these planting steps you learn more about your purple Crocus flowers and the secrets of their growing. Finally, you decide to grow it yourself every year, or you may find this agricultural project hard in your region.
No, it is not. You should provide the conditions to grow saffron.
Growing this spice is cheaper than buying it.
It is better to buy Iranian bulbs; chose the small one is better for starting.