Planting saffron in new areas requires checking the saffron growing conditions. We should know how much resources we have and how much resources should we invest to have a good and high-yield saffron farm.
Some of the most important saffron growing factors are soil structure, water, sunlight, workforce, and temperature. In this post, we will check the ideal form of these factors for growing saffron, and then you can compare your situation with these criteria.
Also, you should know that you may don’t have these conditions for growing saffron, and this is no serious problem. Today, saffron is cultivated in many areas and it’s not favorable in all conditions. If your water is sweet and the environmental humidity is sufficient, we can correct the rest of the conditions.
Saffron Growing Conditions
1. Which soil is suitable for saffron cultivation?
Providing good soil for Saffron is essential, and do you know why?
We plant standard agricultural products every year because the usual crop cultivation period is one year, but Crocus Sativus is not this like. Saffron corms remain in the soil for 7, 10, or even 20 years. So, we can’t plow the farm every year, and we can’t access the depth of the farm quickly.
To choose the suitable land and soil for planting Saffron, you should pay attention to these points.
- The soil should not be salty. (EC < 2000 is excellent)
- Clear the soil of weeds and debris before planting
- The best soil is soil having 30% pebbles and clay and 30% silt
- Use well-drained soil for planting
We have also obtained the tips and compositions of the optimal fertilizer for planting saffron, which we have discussed in other articles on the site.
2. Water Requirements
The Saffron plant is low requirement water and just needed 2-4 times water in its growing season. Crocus Sativus can survive in drought and water shortage conditions, and this subject makes it a popular agricultural opportunity in low-water and desert areas.
Our observation and experiments show that a hectare saffron farm needs about 300 mm or 3000 m3 of water per year. This amount of water can be supplied by rainfall in some areas, and we do not have any problem with providing it. Of course, in accounting for this volume, we consider average water evaporation, not the exact amount and other influential factors.
The critical and exciting thing about saffron water is that the main steps of saffron water are in fall and winter, and at this time, we haven’t any crops on our farm, and we can use water for Saffron without any worries. So, if you have low water on your farm or your neighbor’s farm, you can use it and plant saffron bulbs on your farm.
Growing saffron is an excellent opportunity for farmers that plant crops in summer and want to have an extra income in fall and winter. You can assign part of your farms to produce saffron. Maybe someday, saffron growing converts to your first income stream.
3. WorkForce & Tools
The most critical and sensitive time in the saffron planting process is harvesting saffron. We plant saffron bulbs once and harvest saffron flowers for seven years, so this isn’t a very important issue. But, we should harvest saffron every year in a short and limited time.
The saffron harvesting process takes longer, usually ten days, and during this time, we should harvest, clean, and dry saffron threads. We can do this process in 2 models: The traditional model by human force and the mechanical model by machines.
In the traditional method, we need an average of 10 people for the saffron harvesting process, and after that, we need one person for managing saffron farms. We need one or two people to harvest and operate farms in mechanical and modern methods.
Tip: Notice that you don’t need a significant workforce in the first year of saffron planting, and you can do it by yourself and your relatives. Because the first year is the year of bulb compatibility and you probably won’t have many products to harvest.
I think even the first year is the year of adaptation of the farmer to the land, it can help you learn work tricks and become familiar with Crocus Sativus behavior.
4. Saffron Growing Temperature
The minimum temperature that saffron bulbs can tolerate is – 35 degrees, and without severe cold shock, we wouldn’t have a severe problem. If we have a cold shock or under 35 degrees temperature, we have some solutions for overcoming them.
We can do the greenhouse saffron cultivation method to provide good conditions for saffron blooming and decrease harmful weather effects on our bulbs and products. Also, there are tricks that North American farmers use to reduce the impact of the cold, and we shared them in other our blog posts.
Saffron corms can tolerate high temperatures to +45, and above this temperature, the bulbs are in danger of pests and disease. Of course, this scale and temperature range is based on specific weather, but we can extend it to the whole farm by changing it.
5. Saffron Plant Climate
Let us refer to this graf again…
What do you see in this picture?
In short and in general, the best climate for saffron planting is an area with warm summers and mild winters. But this is not enough for screening areas and states. we want to say that everything is relative and we do have no rules, but some points can help us choose the better climate for growing saffron.
- The best yield of saffron farms is 1100 – 2500 above sea level, and at lower altitudes, it won’t be easy to get the desired result.
- The high average temperature in winter is not suitable for saffron. Starting the growing phase in this plant needs some under zero temperature days in the fall, and whatever the length of winter gets longer, we will have better products.
- The presence of snow and rain in the three seasons of autumn, winter, and spring is excellent for saffron and leads to increased productivity. But heavy rainfall (more than 30 ml) in the second and third months of summer is harmful to the plant.
There are practical solutions for many saffron planting problems, and there are no worries for you. If you are interested in planting saffron in your garden or farm, we can help you do this.
We shared some of the saffron Growing conditions with you in this post, and absolutely this is not enough to start a saffron growing business. Still, it can help you have an overview of this work, and if you are interested in knowing more about saffron planting, you can refer to our other blog posts or contact us.
I’m very much interested in planting saffron in South Africa….