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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.
Buy Saffron bulbs
For more details:
Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre
POB : 667 GPO Srinagar SGR J&K 192121
Ramban, Jammu 182143
Other add: http://facebook.com/jkmpic