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How to take care of the saffron plant
First of all, consider that the edible part of the plant, the one we will use in the kitchen, are the 3 red stigmas inside the flower. The rest of the plant can be simply ornamental, giving green leaves and flowers of a splendid purple color. Saffron plants can also be cultivated in pots, by putting more bulbs inside them, preferring containers with dimensions of at least 40cm in diameter. It is important to choose healthy bulbs, preferably by having a specialist dealer advise you, perhaps from a nursery. The bulbs are about 4cm in diameter. Once grown, the saffron plant is quite resistant and gives an excellent product for culinary use, once dried and reduced to the classic powder to enrich dishes.
Growing saffron: watering
To grow saffron successfully, there is no need to irrigate too frequently. At the beginning of the life cycle of the seedlings, obviously, the water supply should never be scarce, trying to keep the soil where we grow saffron constantly moist. As the plant grows, it will practically no longer be necessary to intervene. Taking central Italy as a reference, for example, seasonal rains are more than sufficient to guarantee the water needed for the development and growth of saffron plants. Only in the hottest season, if there are long periods of drought, it may be necessary to wet the base of the plants, taking care to use a suitable system such as the drip system. Alternatively, for smaller crops or in pots, we can simply water the land if it is completely dry and dry.
Fertilization and soil
The choice of land is of fundamental importance for the success of cultivation. The first thing to consider is drainage. In the open field we will check that the soil is not too heavy, possibly adding sand. For the cultivation of saffron pot plants, on the other hand, we can opt for the arrangement of the expanded clay on the lower layer of the container. Alternatively we can put pebbles, perhaps using a narrow mesh nylon net to prevent them from mixing with the soil. In the garden the land must be prepared in advance, with a deep hoeing and digging operation of at least 40cm. We can therefore proceed with fertilization, preferring mature manure for an ideal organic contribution. After the distribution we will cover everything with the earth and we will wait for the period for sowing the bulbs, when the soil has absorbed the nutrients.
Exposure, climate, diseases, collection
Saffron flowers should be harvested as soon as possible because they rot very early. We will take from these the stigmas which will then be dried naturally and reduced to powder for culinary use, without the addition of chemicals. Our saffron will be natural and delicious. Saffron can be grown in the same garden plot for up to 3 years. It is recommended to avoid repeating the same cultivation for at least five years. Rotation with legumes is particularly indicated. Periodically we will proceed with weeding of the soil, simply by removing weeds. The saffron plant can tolerate prolonged exposure to the sun in seasons characterized by temperatures of over 35 ° C. It is very resistant even to harsh winters, the important thing is to avoid water stagnation that could cause dangerous rot, also causing the death of the plant. Insects and animals such as mice should be kept away, trying to avoid chemicals as much as possible.