Saffron is actually a very popular spice. You can find them inside the Crocus sativus flower, which is a beautiful lavender flower that comes with a yellow stamen. Inside that stamen are the red stigmas that make the saffron spice. Saffron is said to be very expensive and popularly used in many Mediterranean cuisines.
The thing with crocus sativus flowers is that it can only produce three pieces of saffron (stigmas), making it one of the most expensive spices in the world. Buying a small packet of it is like buying a barrel of black pepper. So if you enjoy Mediterranean dishes or any dish that uses saffron, then you might want to learn how to grow saffron instead, so that you can save money from this expense.
Here is how to grow saffron the simple way:
Raised Garden Beds
The Crocus Sativus flowers grow better in raised garden beds because you can control the temperature of the soil better, the nutrients that comes in it, and so much more. Ideally, the Crocus Sativus flowers like the warm temperature. It also likes to be planted in rich potting soil mixed with mature compost. The soil should also be well draining, so that the water will not drown the roots of your flowers and kill them.
Planting Your Saffron Bulbs
You can grow the Crocus Sativus flowers through bulbs that you can buy from greenhouses, nurseries, or even in a local garden supply store. Plant your bulbs at least 3 inches deep. The bulbs should also be planted at least 6 inches apart.
Ideally, you should start planting the bulbs during the first day of fall. But after planting, do not water them. Watering your bulbs will not help. Instead, it will just rot. Wait for it to sprout before watering. Sprouting should begin on the next autumn, so you should be a little patient on this.
After a year, or when the next autumn has started, you should already see some sprouts. You can now start watering them, but not too much. Making the soil moist is already enough to keep the sprouts well nourished.
When the flowers starts to bloom, gently pluck each stigma that you see. You might be disappointed during your first harvest, as you can only yield about a tablespoon of it. But don’t worry! On your second harvest, you will be able to yield more, as the bulbs under the grown have already divided, giving you more blooms for the next year’s harvest.
Once you have finished your first harvest, wait for your flowers to wilt. When it does, stop nurturing it like watering it and weeding the ground. It will already enter the dormant stage again, and the only time it will bloom again is next year. Normally, the crocus sativus flowers grow and bloom during the winter season, and starts wilting during the spring season.
Growing it isn’t hard if you follow the simple steps on how to grow saffron. Pretty soon you will have more saffron than you know what to do with.
image courtesy of m-bot/flickr