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How to Grow World's Most Expensive Spice - Saffron

The fiber in the pollinated part of the flower of the plant Crocus sativus is used as a spice called saffron

Priyanka Menon
Saffron and its flower
Saffron and its flower

The fiber in the pollinated part of the flower of the plant Crocus sativus is used as a spice called saffron. It grows to a height of 15 to 20 cm. Its origin in Europe, it also grows in the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Austria, France, Greece, England, Iran, and Turkey. In India, it is widely cultivated in Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh.

Cultivation Practices for saffron:

Soil specificity is more important than climate in saffron cultivation. The plant thrives in subtropical regions. Can grow up to 2000 m above sea level. Requires 12 hours of sunlight. Low temperature and high humidity can significantly affect the formation of flowers.

Good moist soil is required. The pH value should be between 6 and 8. The clay should be avoided for cultivation. Planting material and cultivation method Tubers are used for planting. The tubers have a rounded shape and long fibers. While planting soil should be enriched with organic manure.

The best time to plant saffron is from June to September. Flowering begins in October. The main stages of growth are during the winter. The leaves dry out in May. Tubers are planted at a depth of 12 to 15 cm. There should be a distance of 12 cm between each plant.

Irrigation is not required. Watering should be done during drought and summer. After planting, the tubers grow from one to five in three years. Mulching will control weeds. Those who cultivate an area of ​​one hectare should add 35 tons of manure to the soil before cultivation and plow.

It requires 20 kg of nitrogen, 30 kg of potash, and 80 kg of phosphorus annually. It is given two times. Fertilizer is applied immediately after flowering.

Diseases affecting saffron include Fusarium, Rhizoctonia crocorum (Violet root rot). The flowers are plucked early in the morning and the red fibers are separated and cultured.

Post-Harvest Practices:

Saffron is prepared for sale by drying for 15 minutes at a temperature of 45 C to 60 degrees Celsius in a dryer used for drying well-ventilated food.

Saffron has no taste immediately after plucking. Dried saffron can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month. One gram of dried saffron requires 150 to 160 flowers.

In the first year of planting, 60 to 65% of the tubers will produce one flower. In subsequent years the plant will produce two flowers from each tuber.

Also, read about Saffron cultivation in Kashmir.

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