How to grow saffron: instructions on the cultivation ofsaffronin pots or in the garden. Yield, advice and cultivation techniques. Price and cultivation of saffron in Italy.
We know it saffron and its market price: who has never thought of the possibility of starting a small one cultivation of saffronin your garden or even in pots?
Saffron crops: yield
Cultivating saffronit is not difficult, we are talking about a rustic species and very resistant to diseases but which has high production costs. For each hectare of land (in a 10,000 m² field), the crops of Crocus sativus more productive and in ideal conditions, they have a yield of 3 kg of saffron. The yield depends a lot on the vintages, on the climatic conditions which are not always ideal.
With this premise, you will understand that the saffron production that we can start in the home is really small. However it is worth itgrowing saffron in potseven just for the satisfaction of exploiting a few grams of fragrant and self-produced powder. In addition, the saffron plant offers splendid blooms.
Surrender isn't just aboutcultivationbut also to processing: to obtainone kg of saffronit is necessary to open as many as 200,000 flowers (buds) and extract the stigmas.
Saffron in Italy: price
Thesaffronis the spice produced starting from the cultivation ofCrocus sativus. The high price of thesaffronit is justified by the method of production and harvest: saffron is produced manually and not with machines! In Europe, the saffron production it is located in Spain and Greece but there are also small and large local realities.
There saffron production in Italy it mainly concerns the regions of Abruzzo, Sardinia, Marche, Umbria and Tuscany. There saffron production in Italy it can even boast the DOP (in Sardinia and Abruzzo).
How much? The price per kilo can vary a lot. A high quality product, Italian and with the DOP mark, can cost around 25,000 euros per kg! Much more than what can be found packaged in large supermarkets.
For more information on the cultivation of saffron in Italy (with a video) and on the properties and uses of this spice, I refer you to the articleSaffron, properties and production.
How to grow saffron: the care to devote to the plant
As stated, cultivate saffron it is not difficult but care and attention must be paid from the earliest stages ofcultivation.
Those of thesaffron (Crocus sativus) are not bulbs but chromes. There cultivation of saffron it starts from the planting of the chromes that can take place in the ground or in pots on the terrace or balcony. Just choose a well-drained soil and a sunny exposure. The chromes begin to produce flowers from the end of October until the end of November. The flower crop of Crocus sativus for the saffron production takes place in December.
The chromes of Crocus sativus must be buried with thetipupwards and at a depth double their height. Be sure to give saffron cultivation a bright location.
The stigmas of the flowers must be collected just after the opening of the flower. The stigmas must be collected manually and then transferred to a dry place for drying.
For the harvest, the flowers are cut and the red stigmas are removed with extreme delicacy and with the help of tweezers. Place the stigmas in a small container and let them dry. When they are dry you can transfer them to a jar.
After the saffron harvest
After the harvest of the stigmas, for multi-year crops, the cultural care continues: ensuring the right care for the plants even after flowering will have excellent yields in the following years.
The irrigations of saffron
In winter it is not necessary to protect the plants from frost. During the vegetative cycle, it saffron it must be irrigated only in dry periods. In the summer, it saffron it should not be irrigated.
Grow saffron in pots or in the garden
The distance between one bulb and another must be at least 5 cm. This distance must be respected both if you decide to ccultivate saffron in pots, both in the open field. In the vegetable garden, the distance between the rows must be 50 cm.
When to grow saffron
The saffron bulbs (stigmas) should be buried between the end of August and the beginning of September. Avoid growing saffron with wet soil (shortly after a rain), saffron can be sensitive to rot and does not tolerate water stagnation.
Additional information on the cultivation and the saffron production
For those who intend to cultivate saffron, an excellent point of improvement is the manual entitled: The red gold of the Alps. Technical-scientific manual of saffron production.
In the photo above, saffron harvesting in an income crop in Torbat-e Heydarieh, Iran. Iran is one of the countries with the largest world production of saffron.
In the central photo, the dried red stigmas.