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Imagebitbit
Apr 14, 2011 7:53 AM CST
Name: bit
Eastern VA and NC
Zone 7b/8a
OK, this is officially a spice and not an herb. But I made the rules, so I guess I can break them Whistling

For folks who don't know, saffron is actually a fall-blooming crocus. So it's not only delicious but also very beautiful to give some color in the garden at a time of year when most things are turning brown and going dormant.

I just started my saffron last fall. It's not supposed to bloom the first year, but some of my plants did, so I got a small harvest just a few weeks after I planted the corms.

Thumb of 2011-04-14/bitbit/229e6d

Here's one of my plants last fall. The long red threads are the saffron. It's so expensive in the store because it has to be harvested by hand, and labor is expensive for large-scale farms. But for the backyard gardener, it's a decidedly low-maintenance plant.

They're dormant right now, and I should get my first full harvest this October. The plants look rather plain and grassy at the moment, but I know they're saving up their energy for the cute purple blossoms, so I can't hold it against them.

Thumb of 2011-04-14/bitbit/174218

Has anyone else grown saffron? So far, I haven't met another gardener who does, which surprises me since it is so easy to grow and is so expensive to buy. The corms were pricier than most vegetable seeds, but I think they'll pay for themselves this year, and they divide so the yields go up over time.

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