From growing to harvesting Saffron

Saffron is a natural spice that is known globally as red gold. Through our discussion with a group of farmers in the Douar of ARG, SIRWA mountains, there is a specific process to follow while growing Saffron. Despite that, we have learned as well that there are different growing techniques and important steps to be taken into consideration before starting a new Saffron bulb crop. First of all, Saffron is planted in light soil fields, with good drainage, and with no flooding problems. Second, It is always good to start with a fresh location without any prior cultivation for up to two years. Third, make sure there are no signs of illness, in order to prevent phytosanitary problems. Fourth, It is important to dry the Saffron bulbs naturally and avoid any chemical treatment. Finally, Saffron bulbs need to be cleaned naturally and disinfected using traditional methods instead of copper sulfide before planting.

Most importantly, the bulbs need to be stored in a dry space and well-ventilated environment. Saffron bulbs are still a product of nature and very much alive even though the bulbs seem dormant. Just like other dry flower bulbs, Crocus Sativus bulbs need to be able to breathe when above the ground. When stored in a warehouse, open up the doors to provide fresh air and plenty of continuous air movement. Saffron bulbs stored under the wrong conditions become sensitive to fungus which could impact your crop. The best storage temperature would be between 20-25 degrees celsius.

Saffron bulbs like cold winters combined with hot and dry summers. In the springtime when the reproduction of the Crocus Sativus occurs and flowering time in the fall are the times when the Saffron crop could use water. All other periods during the year Saffron bulbs require low quantities of water. In most cases, professional Saffron growers prepare the land about one month prior to the flowering season of Saffron. Usually, the month of September is used to remove all the weeds and the surface of the soil is being grabbed in order to break the crust. It is important to plan and prepare well for your Saffron harvest. The flowering period of Saffron flowers usually lasts for about 15 – 20 days. The majority of the Saffron flowers are harvested during the first 10 days of flowering.