Need Advice - Saffron Crocus

madferret(UK 8b-9a)August 29, 2010

Hello,

I'm afraid I may have rushed into this but I bought 35 saffron bulbs the other day, from a reputable UK vendor.

My instructions that came with the bulbs seem to indicate that I'd need a deep pot of about 30cm, planting at a 15cm depth, 3 bulbs 10-15cm apart.

My question is , the deepest pot I have at the moment us 20cm if I plant at 10cm will I be wasting my bulbs? (ie. Midway in the pot) or shall I just spend and get 2-4 pots more suitable? (cost is an issue ATM)

It'll have to be pots of some kind as I'm having to use a 20x20ft concreted plot out the back of the house.

Thaks

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

What can you scrounge locally (even fossicking where the fly tippers work their foul habit)? Old paint pails with BIG holes for drainage (thumb-thick and about five of them) would give you your depth and the handles made shifting them relatively easy. Which would be useful as Saffron grow better if they're repotted annually - and have a rich mix with excellent drainage.

If the plebeian past of old cleaned paint pails is a bit much then making a surround of recycled planks, refreshed with some paint, would disguise them and would hide the pot feet or the pebbles you stand the pots on to help them drain well.

You'd probably get five to a pot. That would take you about 3.5 40L bags of potting mix. Less, if you plan to add sharp grit, about 3-5mm diameter, to the mix.

I don't think I'd go for a washing machine bowl. They tend to have peculiar drainage problems (but that might just be me). And old tyres in stacks aren't as clever as they're made out to be. :-(((

Old wooden boxes lined with thick plastic (such as the potting mix bags opened out and suitably holed) are a possible, if you can get them, and might even be 'art-y'. Or ancient polystyrene chilly bins/eskies - whatever it is you call those things with handles for taking drinks and ice-packs to the beach.

And remember that they need a dry dormancy (although that might not be a problem with the heat waves the UK has been enduring in parts).

As you have a reasonable number of bulbs you might want to risk a few in a shallower container, too. Just to see if you get flowers AND healthy bulb increase.

Hope they do well for you. Those sharp orange-red tassels are something I look forward to each year. Pretty as.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 5:28AM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Ive actually relented and bought a large wooden frame planter for £30($40ish) thanks for all the ideas though, what I did think of (and maybe will try for next year) is some large plastic drain pipe of about 8inch diameter cut into various lengths and possibly painted with some kind of glossy paint. I'm going to try a batch of 12 bulbs in the small planter and see how they do, as I'm sure they won't be a total loss anyway

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 8:53AM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Ive actually relented and bought a large wooden frame planter for £30($40ish) thanks for all the ideas though, what I did think of (and maybe will try for next year) is some large plastic drain pipe of about 8inch diameter cut into various lengths and possibly painted with some kind of glossy paint. I'm going to try a batch of 12 bulbs in the small planter and see how they do, as I'm sure they won't be a total loss anyway

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 10:30AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Uh-oh! Another Fallen Gardener. ;-)))

If you have a tendency toward bulbs, see if you can source any of Brian Mathew's books at the local library. I've always found him to be excellent.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 10:40PM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Ah thanks for the tip, not sure if I'm going to be very bulby but I can see me getting more saffron at some point (presuming I don't kill it) :0)

How long do the flowers last, and do they flower 4-6 weeks after planting or did I mid-read that?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 12:38PM
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