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  • OT - Saffron Corms offered for sale, approved by Wills :)

    For the last 5 years I've been buying saffron corms from a company based in Holland. They've been 9 cm+. I used to buy corms at local nurseries and I'd be lucky to get a 5 cm corm. Last year I decided to offer them to some local gardeners and that went well so now I'm offering them to fig people. I'll give you more background below but basically they're fall blooming crocuses growing in zones 6-9. In Zone 5 you might be able to put them 9" down at the south or west side of houses or rocks but no guarantee. They need it to be cool while green and growing.

    They arrive from my supplier in late Sept and I ship them to you right away. You plant them ASAP about 6" down. I plant mine 12" apart in all directions so I don't have to lift and replant very often. Other common spacing can be anywhere from 2-6" apart in a row and rows from 10 - 20" apart. They need good drainage and like some organic matter in the soil. They like to be dry or at least well drained in the summer but with enough water when growing mid Sept to mid January in a bad winter, all the way to mid May in a mild winter. I fertilize mine.

    The fees start at 52 cents/corm plus shipping, no international orders. Prices can go up as the year progresses so if you order after Jan 15 ask me first. I will ship to everywhere in the US except Hawaii but if your state confiscates it I will not be responsible and you will not get a refund. They will not have a phytosanitary stamp on the outside. Minimum order 15 corms. The saffron will arrive at my place in late September and I will ship it with tracking when I get it, first come, first served. You can expect it by Oct 10 assuming no horrible postal problems and you should plant and water it right away. PM me with what you want and I'll give you my pp address.

    I will tell you that everyone who ordered less than 100 last year are sorry they did so and are ordering 100 or more this year.

    Shipping:

    up to 20 corms 6.35
    21-200 corms 14.15
    200-50,000 corms ask

    Now for some background:

    Saffron is the world's most expensive spice. When you grow it at home you should be able to get a much more potent batch than anything you can get at the store. Typically 1 gram of past crop, non certified saffron threads will cost you about $10. Fresh home grown saffron will require 1-2 threads per person per meal. Estimates for store bought saffron go anywhere from 6 to 20 threads per person per meal. Saffron leaves look like a cross between pine needles and grass. The flowers are purple and smell sweet. The saffron is the red part of the flower and only that part is the saffron. You remove the red part and you must dry that before use. Google saffron recipes for further info. It makes great savory dishes, bread and desserts.

    Scroll down if the info you want isn't here. I've collected all the questions from PMs and answered them later in the thread.

    The saffron flowers as they appear after a few years in ground Click image for larger version

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    A Saffron flower showing leaves and the style with 3 red threads attached at the bottom Click image for larger version

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    Saffron removed from the flower but not yet dried. Each group of 3 comes from 1 flower. Click image for larger version

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    A different view Click image for larger version

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    The dried saffron, ready to use. Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by Harborseal; 01-06-2016, 12:35 PM.
    Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

  • #2
    The flowers are also pretty decorative in their own right. How many chill hours do they need?
    Sarah
    Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

    Comment


    • Harborseal
      Harborseal commented
      Editing a comment
      They're dormant in Summer so no chill hours. They prefer a cool and at least moist winter. I don't see you having any trouble in the Bay area.

  • #3
    I'm solidly in zone 5 here in Maine and I've been growing them for years in a bed about 4' away from the south side of my house. They're about 6" down and under maybe 2" of cedar mulch. They've been coming back and multiplying nicely. The past 2 winters we had lows of -17F with no apparent losses. The flowers don't seem to last long at my house, probably because of the late blooming, but they do produce nicely.
    Greg, Maine, zone 5. Wish List: Green Michurinska

    Comment


    • #4
      BOB!!!

      Awesome!! I thought I was the only crazy person growing them. And you are offering an amazing price, I paid way, WAY more for mine, thankfully they have been naturalizing for me.

      If you are thinking about getting some, I don't believe you'll get a better deal and they are super fun and easy to grow.

      My $0.02 worth anyway.
      Last edited by COGardener; 01-05-2016, 05:43 PM.
      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

      Comment


      • #5
        The flowers last 1-3 days depending on how dry it is. I pick them, remove the saffron threads to dry and then place the rest of the flowers in a shallow condiment bowl with some water. They're advertised to grow in Z9 in California. I don't think it's a certain number of chill hours because they're not dormant in the winter. I think it has to be cool enough so they don't dry out or get excessively hot which would force them to go dormant. I'll change my initial post to reflect that.
        Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

        Comment


        • Sarahkt
          Sarahkt commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for clarifying. Curious to know if they spread rapidly and take over areas or not. It doesn't look to be the case.

          Sounds like a great deal!

        • Harborseal
          Harborseal commented
          Editing a comment
          They spread slowly and tend to stay in compact clumps. That's why, when flower production starts to decline, typically in year 4-6, most people will dig them up and move most of them to other places.

      • #6
        Interesting...I'll have to look into these more. I don't think I've ever actually tasted saffron even though I grew up in Pennsylvania.
        Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra, Rubado

        Comment


        • COGardener
          COGardener commented
          Editing a comment
          If you've had the "yellow rice" you've most likely had it.

          https://www.google.com/search?source...17...........0.

        • Harborseal
          Harborseal commented
          Editing a comment
          Or yellow Chicken, bouillabaisse and on and on

        • Sarahkt
          Sarahkt commented
          Editing a comment
          Paella and other certain Spanish dishes as well. Got a great recipe for Spanish vegetable soup with chickpeas and chard (and saffron!) if you want to try making a dish containing it.

      • #7
        Im definitely interested, I just dont know how many would make sense to get. I did some quick research but still had some questions. Sent a pm with a couple quick questions. Thanks!
        2021: The year of figs and a new love of Citrus thanks to http://www.madisoncitrusnursery.com

        Comment


        • Harborseal
          Harborseal commented
          Editing a comment
          Anyone getting less than 100 has regretted it and ordered at least 100 the following year.

      • #8
        The corm you plant this fall will produce leaves that look like a cross between pine needles and grass. At first they'll be 2-4" tall. The flowers can come before, during or after the leaves. When the plant is green there is no corm. After flowering is finished the leaves will grow to 8-16" long and remain until they're killed by cold or the Spring rains end. When the leaves die the plant will re-form daughter corms. The bigger the mother corm the more likely you are to get flowers and the more daughter corms will form. Over time you'll get progressively more flowers in the spot the mother corm was planted because there will be more daughter corms each year. If flower production starts to fall off (usually in years 4-6) then it's best to dig that area, retrieve all the corms and spread them out. Besides what I mentioned above, some people plant a row 10-20" wide and the corms 4-6" apart inside the row. You'll have to lift and replant sooner that way but it's great for a grassy strip between a sidewalk and a road, for example. You could also lift them when they go dormant and replant every year if you want to but most people don't want the work. If you have a wet summer you can grow them in raised beds or pots and cover them so they stay dry in the summer. Saffron corms tend to stay fairly close together and don't spread the way grape hyacinths do.

        I water and use a small amount of bulb fertilizer in mid September. I keep the ground moist until the flowering is done then I fertilize again. If warm weather persists I'll fertilize every 2 - 4 weeks. If it's cold I won't fertilize but I will water if the ground is dry. So far we've been down to 19 F and the leaves are still green.


        Here's a paper from New Zealand that has good information

        http://www.boobookhill.com/Kiwi%20Saffron.pdf

        Feel free to ask any questions here or via PM. If you want to order PM me and tell me how many. I'll give you the total and my PP address. My supplier offers a discount until he hits certain sales volumes. For each target he hits he raises prices a little. Usually the first increase is in the last half of January. So it's best to order now and get the lowest prices. As he raises his prices mine have to go up as well. Usually the first increase is only 2 or 3 cents per corm.
        Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

        Comment


        • #9
          And continuing to answer Questions from PMs, I started with 500 my first year and planted 200 per year for the next 3. Every area that has autumn sun, including areas shaded by deciduous trees in the summer, has some. I lined sidewalks and walkways with them, I put them in with my Spring bulbs because their seasons are opposite. If your winters don't get below maybe 20 for long periods you can grow them in pots forever. If the soil in the pot freezes solid the plants won't survive. Otherwise they'll be fine.
          Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

          Comment


          • #10
            Is this for corms shipping now? Or in the fall?
            Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.

            Comment


            • Harborseal
              Harborseal commented
              Editing a comment
              Corms are shipped to you in late Sept to Early Oct.

          • #11
            Saffron is actually on my list of things I am planning on growing. Okay so here are my questions: Can I plant them in the spring? And if so, am I likely to get flowers from them the same year? Or would they have to be in ground a year before they start producing?
            Queens NYC - Zone 7b
            (DatesNFigs at the other place.)

            Comment


            • Harborseal
              Harborseal commented
              Editing a comment
              If planted and watered before they try to sprout half or more *should* flower that year (within 3-4 months). If they get to me late or if you wait before planting fewer will flower.

          • #12
            Hmm...that is tempting. I've been considering putting some in and those sound top notch.
            https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
            SE PA
            Zone 6

            Comment


            • #13
              Bob I'm interested in getting some too.
              Question; Do you have problems with voles eating the corms?
              Tulips don't stand a chance in my area. The voles devour the bulbs as fast as you plant them.
              Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
              Tony
              Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

              Comment


              • Tonycm
                Tonycm commented
                Editing a comment
                I hope so Kelby because I put an order in for some. If the voles won't touch them then that would save me the trouble of trying to protect them from becoming a meal.

              • Harborseal
                Harborseal commented
                Editing a comment
                See below

              • Sarahkt
                Sarahkt commented
                Editing a comment
                Narcissus are great candidates for planting in areas with deer, voles, etc. They're noxious and don't get bothered at all by pests other than passersby. Great fragrance, too.

            • #14
              Corms and bulbs are interesting creatures. If you keep them dry and in the dark they will still sprout at their accustomed time. That means they'll be shipped to me and arrive in late September and I'll ship them as soon as I sort them out to you. I will ship to you via USPS priority with tracking. You should get them by October 10 and plant, water and weakly fertilize them right away for the most flowering. They will sprout by mid - late October. If they stay dry for too long after sprouting they will die. How long is too long? I would have guessed a month or 2 from sprouting at most but a gal who bought them last year and got them Oct 1 (local pick up) forgot about them until I started advertising them this year. She told me she planted them 2 days ago and insists they're still alive. I'll believe her when I see it sprouting leaves. I'll report back when I know more The longer you wait to get them in the ground the less likely they are to flower that year. I can't imagine a corm sprouting and staying dry for 5 months and surviving that. Sorry. One gal didn't plant them until mid December. Most of them were still alive but I doubt she got any flowers that year. She's more experienced with bulbs in general so I'll ask her what percent sprouted and if any flowered.

              Predation is a 'vole' 'nother issue. The first year I planted them the squirrels thought I'd learned from them and dug a few up. They were lying half eaten on the ground. After those few they never touched them again. The corms are poisonous so maybe they taste bad. I have moles but not voles. The moles seemed to feel the same way as the squirrels. I can't vouch for voles. You can put 1/2 " mesh around the corms (individually or as a group) to protect them the same way people use gopher baskets. Because the leaves and flowers are so thin, you could even make a sphere around the individual corms if necessary. Daughter corms form above the mother corms so plant the corm towards the bottom of the cage. You'll probably have to lift them or at least look at them more frequently.

              If there are more questions please feel free to ask. I will tell you that everyone who ordered less than 100 last year are sorry they did so and are ordering 100 or more this year.
              Last edited by Harborseal; 01-06-2016, 12:09 PM.
              Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

              Comment


              • #15
                Nice, I really want to grow these. I'll have to do some more research. I don't know much about growing them. Right now I'm in the process of removing trees and other landscape obsticals, so I haven't thought much about planting, but now I know who to call!

                Comment


              • #16
                Hi Bob, will they survive planted inground Pennsylvania Zone 6??
                Shailesh, Pennsylvania, ZONE 6B

                Comment


                • Harborseal
                  Harborseal commented
                  Editing a comment
                  They should. Rototilling after planting is not advised

              • #17
                I'm Z6 and they do fine for me. Greg Martin posted above that he's in Z5 and they do well for him. Some of the Amish in PA call themselves the yellow Dutch and they grow saffron. Yellow rice and yellow chicken are 2 of the classics they serve. They even make a special small, round box to store saffron in. BTW, when you see saffron recipes you have to decide if they're thinking of store bought saffron or home grown saffron. You will use much less homegrown saffron than store bought. Amish recipes are probably using home grown but most others are using store bought so you'll use less than called for. It will take trial and error to know how potent your own saffron is.

                Click image for larger version

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                Saffron Tea Cake

                Ingredients:
                1 tsp. dry breadcrumbs
                1/2 tsp. anise seed
                4 Tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
                1 cup honey
                1/2 cup sour cream
                4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
                2 cups sifted pastry flour
                1/2 tsp. saffron, ground to powder in a mortar
                1/2 tsp. baking soda
                1 Tbs. cream of tartar
                2 to 3 tsp. poppy seeds Twenty-five 2-in. by 2-in. pieces

                Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 2 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. cake pan and scatter the breadcrumbs over this. Shake the pan gently so the crumbs adhere evenly to the bottom and sides. Pour off any excess crumbs. Scatter the anise evenly over the bottom and set aside.

                Cream the butter and honey until smooth, then add the sour cream. Beat well. Whisk the egg yolks until frothy, and combine with the honey mixture.

                In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, saffron, soda, and cream of tartar three times to ensure even distribution of the leavening. Then sift this into the batter, folding gently to avoid over-activating the soda.

                Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the batter.

                Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread it evenly with a paddle or spatula. Scatter the poppy seed over the top and bake for 30 min. or until done in the center. Cool on a rack.

                Recipe by William Woys Weaver
                December 1997
                from issue #12
                Last edited by Harborseal; 01-06-2016, 09:56 PM.
                Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                Comment


                • #18
                  I found some info that might be helpful;

                  Harvesting and Using Saffron: Three stigmas are borne in the center of each purple, cup-shaped bloom. The best time to harvest the stigmas is mid-morning on a sunny day when the flowers have fully opened and are still fresh. Carefully pluck the stigmas from the flowers with your fingers, then dry them in a warm place to preserve them for cooking. Store in a closed container. To use saffron, steep the threads in hot liquid (water, broth, or milk, depending on the recipe) for about 20 minutes. Add both the threads and the steeping liquid early in the cooking or baking process, and the threads will continue to release their color and flavor.
                  Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
                  Tony
                  Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

                  Comment


                  • Harborseal
                    Harborseal commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Many people feel that vodka produces the best extraction, just so you know I personally like milk

                    You don't want a lot of light hitting the saffron. Like most spices light can break down the chemicals that impart the flavors. In the case of saffron, many of those chemicals are related to Vitamin A and are therefore more sensitive than most.

                • #19
                  So the saffron seeds I bought off eBay are a rip off?? I need these corms to grow the flower?
                  Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
                  Wish List: Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

                  Comment


                  • Harborseal
                    Harborseal commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I looked at saffron seeds on an ebay search. Only 1 of the 44 listings had real saffron, the one that mentions corms and bulbs. The rest are a different plant. The Colchicum are poisonous. The first one where the second picture has a seed packet is definitely not saffron. It might be something good, who knows? I called ebay to let them know. I had a lot of trouble getting the guy to listen but eventually he seemed to take me seriously.

                • #20
                  Eerrr, what? Saffron flowers are sterile. They can't produce seeds. Would you give me a link to what you bought?
                  Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                  Comment


                  • #21
                    I bought them from eBay a few months ago. Here is the site. Just went back. The photos they posted don't even look like the photos posted here. Newbie mistake! My bad.

                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/371296406734...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
                    Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
                    Wish List: Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

                    Comment


                    • #22
                      Be real careful with crocus, be 100% sure it's saffron. The others are poisonous.

                      Anyone wondering about them being cold hardy, they live and are spreading in my back yard in Colorado Springs. USDA Zone 4B/5A

                      I collect threads every year.
                      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

                      Comment


                      • #23
                        efletche, I saw #50 Saffron. The photo is of safflower. The petals of safflower are often used to mix in to saffron to add weight but not flavor. In Medieval England that was punishable by death. You should report the vendor. If you search on Saffron Seeds and scroll down to the one with bulbs in the description you'll see what you should be getting and can refer them to those photos and perhaps a wikipedia entry on safflower. Good luck.
                        Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                        Comment


                        • #24
                          The crocuses are starting to bloom.

                          At what stage of blooming do people typically harvest the saffron threads? The flower in the front looks ready for the plucking!

                          Saffron crocus
                          You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
                          Sarah
                          Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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                          • #25
                            This is the first year i've grown saffron, but i'm pretty sure you are supposed to harvest the threads as soon as they appear.


                            As you can see the flower in front was first to sprout and the first to fade. If the threads were not picked in time they would shrivel with the flower.
                            Attached Files
                            WV zone 6a
                            Wish List: Figo Preto, I-258, CDD (Any of them).

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