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How to grow saffron in our climate successfully

#1 User is offline   SalmanTropical 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:52 PM

Hello everyone,
We all know that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world right and it would be lovely to grow it right?
The flowers are also beautiful and purple right?
But is it possible?
Yes it is!!!!

Firstly in order to grow saffron you need to understand its life cycle:
Saffron is the exact opposite of tulips and other flowering bulbs and here's why:

First we start in summer.

The bulb is dormant and it is so hot. Slowly a flower bud develops inside the bulb(average temperature 30 to 40 celcius)

In autumn it gets cooler and the bulb is inspired and starts to sprout and bloom.(15 to 20 celcius)

In winter the bulbs continues growing leaves to store energy in the developing bulb.(10 to 15 celcius)

In spring the warmer temperatures slow down the growth rate and eventually all leaves die and the bulb becomes dormant again.(20 to 30 celcius)

The temperatures above represent the average temperatures of places which are ideal to grow saffron such as Spain.

Now this is a problem. We can grow tulips and other bulbs because we can put them in the fridge when they are dormant. But our heat makes saffron bulbs dormant and if you put saffron bulbs in the fridge there is no light and the leaves will die.

Also our fridge is too cold and the plants will not like this.

So what now?

This is my super secret method( I have not tested it out yet but it should work)

Step 1: buy a cheap grow light from Hong Kong on eBay the led grow lights cost only $30
Also buy a power converter in Singapore since the Hong Kong grow lights use 110 volts.
Gat the grow light with blue and red led mixed. This is the best type for saffron.
The light will be purplish.

Step 2: buy saffron bulbs. Now in end of year time you can find saffron bulbs on sale on ebay Singapore.
The bulbs are cheap with free shipping. You can only buy the bulbs at certain times in the year. So quickly buy before they run out.

Step 3: get a fridge. The fridge that you uses to keep food is fine. But don't put the bulbs into the fridge and contaminate all the food eat the food and become sick and die.
Remember to get two large zip lock bags. Put the plant in one bag and seal it so no bacteria can escape than just to make sure seal the first bag with another bag. Definitely no bacteria will pass through this double bag seal.

Step 4: get a smallish pot which is about 15 cm deep.
A styrofoam cup should work fine. ( remember to poke holes in the bottom)

Step 5: The ideal type of soil is a neutral clay-calcareous or silty soil (PH 6 to 8).
But just buy potting soil and add a lot of sand and a little peat or compost.

Now how to do it.

Fill up your pot with soil and plant the bulbs about 7 cm deep.
Seal it up and put it in your fridge for about 16 hours. Then take it our for eight hours and put it under grow lights.
Put the plant and grow lights indoors since outdoors is too hot.
Repeat this every day for about 4 to six months.
Give your saffron plants minimal water during this time. Just keep the soil moist.

Then after about five months reduce the time the plant is in the fridge by 1 hour each day and increase the time it is under the grow lights.
Soon the leaves will die.

Now keep your plant in a dry place and totally do not water it for three months.
After this repeat the cycle all over again.

The plant flowers when it is actively growing and usually u puck the three red stigmas.
Then slowly dry them and keep that in an airtight container.
You need about 75 plants to get 1 gram of saffron.
This seems like many plants but 75 plant will fit in 75 styrofoam cups.
And the plants are also very small.
Buy only ten bulbs and after growing for one season the bulbs would have multiplied and by three or four years you would already have 75 bulbs.


Finally this is just a theory and is not yet perfected. It may work but there may be some problems.

Just try it for fun and with TLC I believe that saffron will grow for you even in burning hot Singapore.

No plant is impossible to grow in the tropics.

Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a saffron plantation in Kranji

Thank You

Salman
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#2 User is offline   lavendergarden 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:36 PM

View PostSalmanTropical, on 11 December 2013 - 03:52 PM, said:



This is my super secret method( I have not tested it out yet but it should work)





Hi Salman

Not to pour cold water on your plans on growing saffron but

1)How is this super secret when you're telling everybody? :hysterical:/>

2)I love the way you've thought things thru, it's very detailed so it's a lot of time spent just planning this out. However sometimes we all know even the best laid plans of mice and men can go astray. So it would be good if you could tell us for sure it's gonna work because you've actually tried it yourself and have tangible results.

Thanks anyway and please keep us posted on how this goes.

Cheers

Joyce
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#3 User is offline   Greyfingers 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:58 PM

Yes Salman thanks for sharing with us. Like I said to some, certain plants are for certain people only. I rather budget myself and eat less saffron. :hysterical:/>
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#4 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:12 PM

Salman,

Go for it. It seems to me you are a man who likes to experiment to find out what works best for him. Hope you have success, no doubt you will have to tweak it here and there to get it to your satisfaction.

But remember to let us all know the results of your experiment!
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#5 User is offline   SalmanTropical 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

Hello
Is it a super secret that I want to share :)/>
I am definitely going to try this out.
And one more thing just found out that you should plant the bulbs at least 15 cm deep if you grow them in a pot.
I have been researching about saffron for the past two years.
If you have any questions hopefully I can answer them.
If you want to try this out maybe use what I have written as a guide

Salman
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#6 User is offline   SalmanTropical 

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:58 PM

If I am successful maybe I can share the saffron bulbs so others can grow it too.
I also hope to domesticate the plants gradually to our climate and eventually hopefully they may not need refrigeration.

Salman
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#7 User is offline   c17 

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 04:21 PM

hi is there any update on this project?
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#8 User is offline   SalmanTropical 

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:54 AM

Yes. My saffron plants are surviving and I managed to get them o grow some corms. But no flowers this year yet
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#9 User is offline   AbuBakra 

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 08:18 PM

I live in Malaysia. I plan to grow them.

How are the plants doing now? Have you managed to harvest any?

Thanks.

This post has been edited by AbuBakra: 19 October 2015 - 08:19 PM

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