potager · Spices

Growing, Harvesting, and Curing Saffron at Home (with Video)

Saffron is one of the most exotic seeming and expensive spices in the world. Yet I grow an abundant perennial crop of it in a weedy, but compost rich patch of ground in my North Carolina backyard.

My backyard.

Okay, so my backyard isn’t exactly a typical yard. It’s a homesteader’s fantasy of organic food production meets ornamental farm meets ecologically managed wildlife paradise – complete with ducks, chickens, dogs, cats and goats complimenting the less domesticated species in residence.

Yet, saffron is a spice that even small-scale vegetable or flower gardeners can grow at home.

Basic gardening skills are required. Plus, you have to be able to meet two specific conditions to trigger saffron to flower.

But don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about those two “must haves” to grow saffron in this episode of the Spice Chronicles. Journey with me as I get down and dirty (literally) to give you the lowdown on growing saffron at home!

For those of you in colder climates than mine (USDA plant hardiness zone 7a), you will also likely need to grow these in pots. That way you can bring them indoors under a sunny window after they flower to allow the greens to grow all winter long and feed the corms forming underground.

Grow Your Own Spices

If you want even more details on growing saffron (and 30+ spices), and to see some stunning illustrations of the plant (by the amazing illustrator Greta Moore) and discover an easy herbal medicine tip on how to use saffron (from the brilliant herbalist Lindsey Feldpausch, RH), please check out our book Grow Your Own Spices.

Interesting Resources

Also, here are some fantastic resources that I happened across in my studies on growing saffron.

Life Cycle of Saffron

Phenological Growth Stages of Saffron Plant

Peace and Plenty Farm (a Saffron farm in Northern California)

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more episodes of the Spice Chronicles coming soon!

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