Alberto Castillo
Mon, 31 Oct 2005 08:22:27 PST
Dear all:
           My saffon corms were purchased some 20 years ago from the de 
Jager & Sons firm, New York. I don't know if they are in the business 
nowadays. They had excellent stocks of all kinds of hardy bulbs and each one 
was huge and flawless (priced accordingly).
           In this climate, app. zone 9 b in winter and zone 10 in summer 
with year round rains and very rich alkaline soils, saffron crocuses are 
almost a weed. They are in a raised bed for themselves and flower reliably 
every April. Flowers are huge and they (fortunately) never showed any 
striking (that in crocuses invariably means virus). They show the same 
original vigour and only the really big ones flower year after year. These 
have been left in place for over eight years now and in those cases they had 
to be dug the flowering corms were found at 30-40 cm deep (12-16 in.). They 
are really large plants only suitable for beds and tubs, not for normal 
pots. Kathy, there are not two clones, their behaviour depends on the depth 
at which the corms are. If not planted really deep, they will use theri 
flowering energy in burying themselves deeper. Jim has mentioned most facts 
about this rather undemanding crop. Curcuma (turmeric) is the spice used in 
Indian cooking rather than saffron. Saffron was used as a priced dye at 
first and later as a spice. As for Carthamus this is a nice beeding plant 
for hot dry positions. It is a dye and not really a spice. In our humid 
climate saffron is produced abundantly but the scent is not as strong as 
that obtained in a drier region.
The practice mentioned by Angelo (they do the same in Spain) of replanting 
in manure enriched soil (something unthinkable for most bulbs) must be 
understood in the context of poor soils in dryish climates.

Best regards
in Buenos Aires where saffron leaves are dry and the corms have just entered 
dormancy. Ants love saffron foliage

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