We make saffron production plants and provide the necessary advice to those who want to build their own facility. Write or call us for more information.
Saffron is not a demanding plant from the point of view of environmental and pedological conditions; it suits all soil types and endures extreme temperatures varying between 40 ºC in summer and -15 ºC in winter. Its water needs are estimated at between 300-500 mm annually. Spices are made up of dried sticks in the form filaments or in dust. The saffron flower has a light red streak divided into three filaments joined by a small part of the orange sting. This spice is characterized by its coloring, amaricating and aromatic power. The responsible components of such properties are Crocina, Picrocrocina and Safranale, in addition to other volatile compounds.
An important factor when planting crops is to choose a suitable soil.
PARTICULARLY IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSIDER:
1. Soil type: we recommend loose soils that favor drainage. Is usual to prefer soils without stones that would cause problems in collecting corms (bulbs). It is also necessary to avoid those soils that, by chimo-physical characteristics, are subject to fungal attacks.
2. Irrigation:Saffron is a cultivation that doesn’t require large amounts of water. 250 mm of rain water, if well distributed, may be sufficient. However, in semiarid climates, using drop irrigation or sprinkling systems, particularly in the period between February and April, achieves bulb growth.
3. The main work consists of a deep plowing, 35-40 cm, to be made with plow. The best period is between March and April, so that the ground can benefit from the frequent rains of these months. Alternatively, cultivation can be postponed in May - June, before planting corms.
In Sardinia, for example, for fertilization, it is used solely for organic fertilization
START CULTIVATION:After making the choice of corms and preparing the soil, you have to start cultivating, keeping in mind some important factors: 1. Size of corms: this has a decisive influence on the yield of the first flowering, due to the fact that it affects the number of flower buds. In the following years, with the reproduction of the corms, this factor gradually loses weight. In fact, as of the third year of flowering, yields increase in conjunction with the larger size of the corms used.
2. Depth: it is recommended to plant the corms at 15-20 cm from the suface of the soil so that they do not surface on the surface over the following years allowing the development of contractile roots and allowing the development of new deeper cords. 3. Cultivation density: a density of 60 cormi / m² is recommended.
4. How to plant: it is usually preferred that the plantsbe separated by furrows of 50 cm, with a distance of 3.3 cm between corms or with a raised 1.20 m wide file to allow for mechanical harvesting.
5. Period of the year: it is advisable to intervene during the second week of June or August or the first week of September.
TYPE AND DOSES OF FERTILIZERIt is recommended 40-50 UF of nitrogen in the form of ammonium sulphate (21% N2), 80-100 UF of phosphorus in the form of calcium superphosphate (18 % P2O5) and100-120 UF of potassium in the form of potassium sulphate (60% K2O5). Period of application: fertilization is recommended in January with covered soil. More simply, we can recommend using natural manure, preferably goat and sheep fertilizer, at a dose of 2 kg per square meter during the preparation period of soil, that is in spring.
CHECK THE WEEDSIt is necessary to control weeds to avoid loss of product, even in the order of 5% -20%. The roots of weeds are also pathogenic nest.
Weeding control can be implemented in two ways:
through mechanical and / or manual means. After a first manual intervention it is possible to use mechanical milling machines between the cultivation lines. These systems always work well when we have workforce and cultivation is done in furrows. If the availability or cost of the workforce is too high or in cases where it’s difficult to perform mechanical cleaning, is used the herbicide.
The most commonly used chemicals are two carbamates of low persistence in the soil: diquat e paraquat. These are usually applied between June and August, during the growing vegetative period of cultivation, in doses of 2 to 4 l/ha. Both are herbicides of contact; diquat is used for narrow leaf herbs and paraquat applies after the emergency of weeds .
PICK FLOWERSThe flowering period takes place between the second week of October and the first of November depending on the weather conditions of the place. The flower collection time varies according to the type of peeling. If you use a manual peeling, it’s preferable to collect they in the early hours of the morning, when the flowers are still closed and manual removal of stems is easier. When the peeling is mechanical, it’s necessary to have a completely open flower and for this reason the harvest takes place in the middle of the day.
HOW TO CONVERT FLOWER IN A SPICESSaffron is subjected to a long and delicate process before being transformed into spice. This process must take place on the same day as the harvest of flowers because the quality of the product decreases over time. So the stigmas of saffron are removed from the rest of the flower, a process that takes place in a totally manual manner. In Italy, before the drying process, is done the “feidatura, which consists in grease the stigmas with extra virgin olive oil (a quarter of a teaspoon of oil for 100 g of fresh stigmas).
As far as the drying process is concerned, Italian producers use wooden tablets on which they have stigmas. These tables are then placed under the sun or near the fireplace (during the night hours, exposed to the grille). Nowadays, electric dryers are used with regulated thermostat at a temperature of about 45 ° C.