Saffron planting guide is a complete instruction for growing saffron that helps you to grow saffron for-profit and build your saffron business. this information is based on our experience of saffron planting in multiple saffron farms in over the world.
When we start our work, there is nobody to educate and help us to find our way and we just found our way with a lot of trial and error. every error has some cost and profit for us, but our resource was limited and we should get succeed. In the end, we went through this difficult path together, and with the knowledge of our fathers
Now, we want to break the monopoly of saffron planting knowledge and share it with you. we prepared an outline of growing saffron for you. this blueprint can give you a comprehensive view of saffron planting and be useful for you at the start of work.
This guide will say to you, how to grow saffron for profit and how to have an excellent saffron farm.
When is saffron growing time?
The best time for saffron planting is in summer. At this time saffron bulbs are in the sleep phase and ready to transfer from the initial farm to the target farm.
tip: The maximum time that saffron seeds can stay out of the soil is two weeks.
What are saffron growing conditions?
Some of saffron growing conditions are:
- Temperature: -10 to +40C
- climate: warm and dry
- PH: 7-7.5
- Soil pattern: sandy-loamy soil and well-drained
- Precaution: Summer rains are harmful to saffron
The best temperature for saffron planting is the range of -10 to +40C. at low-temperature saffron bulbs, can start growth phase and in the high temperature enter to the sleep phase.
The next factor is dry weather, a saffron farm can’t survive in severe wet conditions and bulbs love the dry weather.
Soil and water PH must be in the range of 7 – 7.5. also, note that the soil should not be too heavy or too light. summer rainy weather can be very harmful to saffron bulbs because high humidity and warm weather are 2 factors of corms infection with ticks and fungi.
Now, look at how a saffron farm is born and see how we produce saffron and prepare it to send to the consumer’s home.
Also if you want to know more about greenhouse saffron cultivation you read relevant posts on our blog.
Saffron planting income
saffron planting incomes can be classified into 2 main methods:
In the first year of saffron planting, we plant 10 tons of saffron corms per hectares and after 7 years and during the saffron propagation process we will have about 70 tons of saffron bulbs. this is the exact mean of scale-up business. after 7 years you can take out bulbs and plant them in a new land.
The second saffron income stream is the saffron production process. you will harvest saffron for 7 years and this can be very valuable for you. if you live in the USA, you can sell your product at a high value. saffron price in the USA is very high and you can have good sell in this market.
Saffron planting guide
1. Preparing the ground for planting saffron
Preparing ground is our first step. we should consider an appropriate land for planting saffron. this land should have some features:
- Do not need it for at least 7 years
- Preferably away from pests
- Has a medium soil texture
- Do not cross the passage of people and animals
- Be rich
In this method of saffron cultivation ground is very important. in this method, we plant saffron seeds in the soil only once and harvest saffron for 7 years. At this time our corms stay underground and don’t get off the ground. so we should be careful about the farm and the base of our work.
Plowing the land
The best time for plowing land is in the last of fall and early of winter and if we couldn’t do it at this time we can plow farm in spring or summer, but the best time is last of fall or early of winter.
We should plow land 40-50cm deep and add some base fertilizer to the ground. we usually use this program in or farms:
- Rotted cow manure / 4 tons per 1000 meters
- Granular potassium sulfate / 25 kg per 1000 meters
- Triple superphosphate / 25 kg per 1000 meters
- Sulfur with bentonite / 50 kg per 1000 meters
Then we should mix the soil and flatten it to be ready for the next step in summer.
2. Preparation of saffron bulbs
We usually plant saffron farms in the summer and saffron bulbs are the seeds we use to plant saffron. you see in the bellow picture saffron bulbs that are ready to plant.
In this step of growing saffron, we should separate the bulbs and remove extra straw around them. when the bulbs are sticking together the efficiency of the saffron farm reduce and this is the main reason for taking bulbs out of the soil after 7 years.
We plant a bulb in the ground and it starts to produce saffron every year, also it does another important process and that is propagation. each of the corms can propagate and produce 1-3 new bubs. you can buy saffron seeds for planting from local shops in your region.
The third step is disinfecting saffron bulbs to protect them from infectious and other harmful things. You can do this process as follows:
- Prepare a 100 to 200-liter tank
- Buy suitable and approved fungicides and acaricides
- Make a solution of fungicide and acaricide in the tank
- put each 10 kg of bulbs in a basket and take into a solution for 60 seconds
4. planting saffron crocus corms
Planting saffron in the soil is the next step that is done in summer. we usually use the traditional way of saffron cultivation, in this method saffron planting machines do not have any role and just human sources do everything.
We must plant the saffron bulbs in the 20 cm down the soil. planting in more or less deep can decrease the efficiency of saffron farms or even destroy the farm. if you plant the corms in 25cm deep, probably bulbs can’t arrive on the surface of the soil and their energy is spent in splitting the soil.
Saffron planting methods
We have 2 methods for saffron planting:
- Cultivation by pit method
- Ideal cultivation of saffron
The best and efficient method that we recommend is the ideal cultivation of saffron. in this method, we should plant 10 tons of bulbs per hectare. this density of planting has some advantages in comparison to the traditional model. some of these advantages are as follow:
- Reduce farm maintenance costs
- Reduce water consumption
- Reduce harvesting costs
- Reduce the amount of land required
- and more…
5. Saffron farm irrigation
Saffron water requirement is low and we usually irrigate saffron farms just four times in the growing season of the saffron farms. the first time should be done in October. this Irrigation must be done deep and fully and just before the first autumn rain.
The second time is done after harvesting saffron with combining fertilization (ZAJ water).
The third time in January and the fourth saffron Irrigation can be ignored at the rain full time. the process of saffron irrigation have some details that you should know if you want to read complete instructions in this post; saffron irrigation
6. Saffron pests
Saffron same like other living things can be under pests attacks, these attacks lead to decrease production and sometimes leads to destroying whole the farm. some of these pests are Mice, rabbits, mites, hedgehogs, and grasses.
There is some way for preventing or fight these pests and there’s no problem for us. for example, we can use common gas capsules or toxins on the market to control mice, but our priority is the organic method and in this case, we can use biologic methods that don’t harm saffron.
Also, we can use multiple methods for controlling grasses and some of them are, using Physical weddings, Super Gallant herbicides, using Rotten cow manure as a fertilizer, and more…
7. Saffron harvesting
If you come to our farm in autumn, you can see saffron farms in such a condition. we should harvest saffron flowers early each day and if we have a delay in doing work, our flowers get loss their quality step by step. in hot areas harvesting starts at 4-5 am and in the cold areas starts at 8-9 am.
Saffron harvesting can do by humans or machines. of course, this process is usually done by children and mechanized machines play a lesser role. each of the workers can harvest an average of 5 kg of saffron flowers and a 1-hectare saffron farm need about 10 workers for the harvest season.
We recommend that predict the workforce before this season, in this time may you can’t find skilled people and your product may miss.
8. Cleaning and drying
Same as the previous step we should do cleaning and drying fast as we can. whatever we are fast our product will be better and we can sell it better in market. each of the saffron flowers must be separated into 3 parts;
In this step, we can decide what type of saffron we want to produce and the best decision is based on an analysis of our target market. based on our research favorite saffron of Arab countries is all red saffron or NEGIN saffron, so if we want to export our saffron to Arab countries we will produce this type of saffron.
Do you what is the favorite saffron type of Spain country? maybe it would be Pushal saffron.
After cleaning and separating saffron components we should dry them. saffron is naturally wet and if we want to store it for a long time we should reduce its humidity to 8% and this process can do by 2 methods.
- Naturally and by sun
- Saffron dryer machine
The first method is so long and we should wait 2-3 days for drying saffron and at this time our saffron is exposed to environmental damage. but the second is simple and our saffron will be dried in 15min and we have a marketable product.
9. Packaging and sell
This step can be done by farmers or traders and it’s so important in the market. the common packaging is 0.5g, 1g, 2g, 4.5 g, and more. an important thing in packaging is attention to the rule of target country shops and target country culture.
- You are not own all the shelves of a store and you just have a limited space
- Your packaging cost should be 10-40% of product cost and if you don’t follow this scale, you can’t compete
- Don’t reduce product quality, customers are alert
- Please and please don’t cheat
Sell isn’t the last step of our work, but we finish this guide here. now and in the next post, we will describe all the steps in detail. We are waiting for your questions and comments.