Saffron update

saffronLast year I bought 60 bulbs and put them in pots and the ground. I got a better harvest from the ones in the pots and the ones in the ground are not in the right place for my growing plans, so today I thought I’d shift them. According to info online saffron is moved every 4 years, so this is early, but it was totally in the wrong place for the conditions it needs – ie being dry at this point in the year, which wasn’t going to happen when surrounded by thirsty squash and sweetcorn.

I waited till the leaves were completely dead and crispy and till the soil was fairly dry.

saffron2The original bulbs were 3-4cm across and I thought there might be some tiny daughter bulbs, but I wasn’t prepared for how many. 30 bulbs have turned into 127! (and I only speared 3)

Each of the big bulbs also have 3-5 additional new bulbs. They aren’t all massive, ranging from the size of the original bulb to the size of a broad bean. saffron4The original bulbs are now the size of a small onion…

Am hoping the same will be true of the remaining 30 growing in pots.

There’s a fair amount online about growing saffron, but not much about other care. This is the only info I could find on how to go about lifting & dividing saffron and it was really useful. (I even tweeted James Wong, but obviously he gets loads every day so I wasn;t surprised I got no response…) I suppose as it needs to be taken up or moved every 4 years it might be a good crop to switch with strawberry beds as they have similar timing for replacing/moving.

Homegrown saffron does taste fantastic, much more honeyed and less harsh than the shop-bought. Last year we had enough for a couple of risottos and some spiced pears. Heaven!

Categories: Diary 2015

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