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Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1465
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
113
forest garden urban
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I planted saffron corms last fall. I wasn't even sure if they could survive here, but I planted them in a street side bed which stays very hot and dry during their dormant season. I'd just about given up this year, thinking that the heat killed them. Then I saw the first flower. Only 12 flowers this year, but considering there was only one flower the first year... Poking around online, it seems like this kind of multiplying is typical, so I hope to soon have respectable numbers. I had just enough this year to make one recipe.

Mashed saffron cauliflower is pretty tasty. I think I'm more sensitive to the saffron that my mother. I used half the threads and thought it tasted extra buttery, then added the remainder because my mother couldn't taste the saffron at all. With the rest of the saffron the cauliflower is noticeably sweeter and I get some of the floral notes. I can see how easy it would be to overdo it with this spice.

It's actually a pretty good return on my time. Every now and then I'll splash some water in their corner if we go several weeks without rain, just enough to keep the lavender in that corner alive. Otherwise, I just let frog fruit cover the bed and only weed out stray bits of grass. No fertilizing and the frog fruit can almost hold it's ground against the grass. After I put them in the ground, the only effort on my part was going out for a few days in November to pluck the threads. Not enough for commercial farming, but probably a good idea for most homesteaders. 
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1567
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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That's exciting! Saffron crocuseseses are on my list, too, for the herb garden I'm starting next year. This will be an herb garden for large amounts of herb to dry, make vinegars, and essential oils. So the saffron crocus will fit in well. It's a full sun area, so they should do well. I've never grown them, but I've read that they really aren't that difficult to grow. I guess it's the harvesting that is time consuming and tedious. But I don't mind jobs like that - it makes me slow down and relax. Plus, I can do a lot of daydreaming while doing tasks like that!

Congrats! Now . . . what the heck is frog fruit?! lol
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 99
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Growing up in PA Dutch country in the 50's & 60's, saffron was both a table staple and a cash crop.  Apparently still is. Yellow Dutch

 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2394
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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We are planning on putting in 100 this next year and have plans to add to them every year after.
I have been setting up the upper hill side along our road for growing saffron.
I've been told (and read) that it will take around three years to get multiple flowers per corm. Every year you should get another flower per corm.
Corms should be divided about every 5 years, which means that every five years you will double your number of saffron corms.

When I lived in NY state, a friend's father had a little patch (150' x 150') that grew all the saffron his family needed for a year.
That patch was started with only 10 plants but when I saw it, it had been there around 25 years and was magnificent to see in September when the flowers bloomed.

I know you are going to love growing saffron Cassie, sounds like you have a great start already.

Redhawk

Addendum : saffronbulbs.com/culture.htm  is a good information site on growing saffron and what critters will want to harm your culms
 
Fabrizia Annunziata
Posts: 33
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Here is a long article from an older issue of Saveur magazine all about Spanish saffron.

I found it really interesting and think you folks would enjoy it too.

Saffron Article
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1465
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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The articles I've read on saffron either focused more on the cooking or the growing of it. Thank you for the link to these other articles which give more information on the history and culture associated with the spice.

I'm going to hope that my choice of ground cover will protect my tiny crocus plot from the ravages of our chihuahua sized squirrels. I had thought that since most crocus are poisonous, this variety would be unappealing to pests. When they get big enough to need division, I may plant them with some protective companions. I have another fall blooming bulb (oxblood lillies) that I could plant them amongst that is definitely poisonous.
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 374
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Steven Edholm, the eclectic genius behind Skillcult.com, grows his own saffron in northern Californis--check it out:

http://skillcult.com/blog/2016/11/20/saffron-growing-the-most-expensive-spice-at-home
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