Growing Saffron

Hey guys, yep I am still here. Working a lot, its total rush time at the Design Studio everyone waits till the last minute and then wants a house full of new window treatments, bedding and or upholstered furniture in time for the Thanksgiving and or Christmas Holidays :O)... so till end of year its a crazy place at work! :O)... I am hanging tight though...

Okay so on a fun gardening note... which is all that keeps sane right now and well always as gardening is my favorite thing in the world to be doing for sure! When I do have a day off and or time I am outside doing something! As of late, digging, potting my two rows of raspberries which will be replanted in a new locations next spring sometime... in hopes they will like that spot better and actually make berries!! :O) I have almost got one row dug up and potted! Its been a job but to be honest not as bad as I feared it might be. I am also creating new raised beds for things I will need space for next spring... As ya'll know due to moles I have to do raised beds for most everything I grow or I have to cage it in wire in the ground as the moles are real stinkers here!

One thing I am creating a new raised bed for is. 

Anyone out there grow saffron? Well I ordered 150 bulbs and will have a 15 foot x 3 foot row! The bulbs will be arriving really quick. Its a tad on the late side to be planting them, in that I won't get a crop this year. They bloom in October which obviously has passed. But its not to late to do the bed and plant them. Next year I will get a crop of saffron!

I have been speed reading everything I could on growing it ... what conditions it likes... the climate...the sun requirements... the dirt... etc etc. Our climate seems very compatible to growing saffron. Someone please pinch me because our extreme climate usually is not what a plant wants ROFL.
Very little water as a matter a fact is just what saffron likes, as water is not saffrons friend... Ok :O) that I can handle check very little water got that... Did you know that from April to Sept. the saffron bulb crocus sativus is dormant... yep its just under the ground doing nadda.... and get this ... You don't water it during this time!!..... I can hardly wrap my brain around something not getting watered from April to Sept here where we live in the Sahara Desert  ermmm  I mean Texas.....with our heat and lack of rain? but nope its true. I talked with the very nice people I ordered the bulbs from to make sure I understood how to grow these little fellas and its true! So then in Sept. you can give them a drink if you didn't get rain and they will shoot up their green grassy like foliage up and then they begin to bloom. You have approximately 4 weeks give or take to harvest the flowers and pull the stigmas out (the saffron) The red things you see in the photo below.  Each flower has only three red stigma. You only have 48 hours to get each flower as they live 48 hours. So every single day you are out checking to see what is ready to harvest. This is why real saffron is sooooooooooooooo expensive to buy. Its a totally hand harvested crop. The window for harvesting is narrow and its a lot of work. Thus the price of real saffron.

Well ya know I love a good gardening challenge so I am putting in a 15 foot bed! I must say I am so excited I can hardly stand it! But it will be next October before I see the fruits of my work (I hope)! 

Today I was off but it was raining off and on. Not complaining at all, we need it! I tried to get out and do some work on the location of where my raised mole proof saffron bed will go but I wasn't able to get much at all done. I did make it to the Home Depot and purchased the wire we use in the bottom of all our raised beds. So that was something! 
I still have enough cinder blocks here to do the bed out of...
I will fill the bed with a nice mix of organic compost and sand and such. They don't like to stay wet, they will rot apparently quickly if they are kept to wet. So a good soil mix that drains very well is what I am shooting for. 

Apparently the flowers smell really nice and well they are surely pretty too! I will be putting  a net over the bed as its my understanding that squirrels like the bulbs and will dig them up. I also will be fencing the area so that rabbits can't dig them up, as apparently they like them too! 

So as usual I have managed to get myself into plenty of work .. but oh my how fun this work is! 
Any of ya'll growing saffon? I would love to hear your experiences with it if so.  


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That's awesome! I have long wondered why saffron is so expensive.

Texan said...

Yes, I have a much better understanding now why its so expensive. Only 3 stigmas per flower and all hand harvested. Then it has to be dried.

Anonymous said...

I hope your saffron adventures turn out great! Glad to have an update on what's going on!

1st Man said...

Now THAT is the coolest gardening thing I"ve seen lately. I wonder if the Houston area would be amenable to them? It might be fun to plant a small bed just to play around with them.

Too cool! Thanks!!

Lynda said...

Please keep us posted on your saffron adventure...I have always wanted to grow my own. Where did you find the corms? Are they SUPER expensive? I'm so excited you're doing this!

Terry said...

Very cool, Texan! And so nice to hear from you.

Henny Penny said...

You are such a hard worker. Glad you found a minute to post. I can't wait to hear how the saffron turns out. I have a few that come up here and there in early spring and bloom.