The technique of The culture of the Saffron
1/Climatic requirements and Ã©daphiqueses
The saffron is a culture of altitude. In general, it normally vegetates to altitudes varying between 650 and 1200 ms. It is a rustic plant, because of its morphology and its physiology, can support some very stern climatic conditions. The saffron is a short day plant and can resist the lower temperatures in truth to -10 -15Â°C or superior to +40Â°C for several days, so long as these temperatures don't coincide with one of the appreciable phases of the plant.
The bulb is a fragile organ fearing the asphyxia in the very clayey soils and raincoats and a dessiccation in the very gritty soils. Most studies achieved on the saffron show that the culture adjusts to a large range of soils provided that they are deep and very drainants. Soils to elevated contents in clay as well as the very light soils don't suit the culture. The saffron can, nevertheless, to tolerate soils to relatively elevated contents in limestone (sometimes superior to 20%). The saffron is indifferent to the pH of soil. It carries itself as well in the acidic soils that in the basic soils.
Needs in water of the plant, although they are relatively middle (600 to 700 mm/ans), contributions in water must be distributed the long of the cycle of the plant well. If in certain humid regions irrigations are useless, for the dry Mediterranean regions and to irregular pluviomÃ©trie, the culture is not possible that irrigated some.
2/Choice of the site
The choice of the site for the plantation must hold amount of the climatic requirements and Ã©daphiques of the plant (framed p.3). Several criterias are used for the identification of the favorable middle for the plantation. The availability in water, a fairly deep land, draining and rich some important criterias are in organic matter and a favorable exhibition to take in amount in the choice of the land.
3/Works of soil and operations culturaleses:
The saffron is a plant to roots fasciculÃ©es of a middle length varying between 3 and 4 cm according to conditions of soil and the technical culturaleses adopted. Of the fact that the culture is pÃ©renne and only increase by vegetative way (new bulbs formed on the ancient bulb), this everlastingness is under the direct influence of the soil nature.
For a new plantation, a set of operations of soil preparation for the setting up of bulbs is necessary. However, these operations defer a region to an another one according to the land and the climatic conditions.
The Ã©pierrage and the construction of terraces are some obligatory operations in several regions productriceses of the saffron because of the mountainous relief and of the no flat land availability.
A labour crusader and deep 30 to 40 cm are necessary to facilitate the preparation of the land for the new plantation. This work is generally achieved either by hand with the help of a drawn plow with the help of an undermining. A first labour is necessary for the burying of the organic matter at less 1 to 2 months before the plantation. A 2nd labours are achieved rightly before the plantation and permit the incorporation of the manures of bottom while eliminating the adventitious plants. Once soil is piece of furniture, one proceeds to the confection of boards or furrows of plantation. A light slant is conceived in order to facilitate the circulation and the good distribution of water in the parcel. After plantation one to two binageses are necessary to eliminate the bad herbs that risk to compete with the flower and to facilitate the emergence of the flower. Then, other binageses are achieved every time that it is necessary to avoid the formation of a crust to the surface of soil, to avoid the compaction of soil around the bulb, to reduce losses in water and to reduce the competition with the bad herbs for water, the mineral elements and light.
Obtaining of the plant material:
At the time of the renewal of safraniÃ¨reses, bulbs are harvested. Before their plantation, tunics are eliminated while only keeping one alone around the bulb. Alone bulbs having a diameter of 2,5 to 3 cm, and showing no anomaly or injury is not planted. The smaller bulbs are kept in pÃ©piniÃ¨re for their growth.
Time of plantation: The time of the plantation is function of the climatic conditions of the region and the period of entrance and levee of the dormance of the bulb. In Morocco, the tradition and heats of summer impose plantations in end August or beginning September. Nevertheless, some tests showed that the plantation is as possible even in June. The gotten results were revealed encouraging.
it is counseled to immediately plant bulbs after their harvest. Otherwise, it is necessary to preserve them in an aired cool place and relatively humid so that they keep their faculty germinative.
Density of plantationtion: The density of plantation to adopt depends on the fashion of conduct. For the yearly conduct, the number of bulbs to the plantation is relatively more important than in the case of a plantation pluriannuelle. Indeed, every bulb gives birth to 3 or 4 bulbs, and after 3 years of plantation, more than 24 bulbs are gotten by stump. The other factor that influences the density is the disposition of bulbs for a better work of soil. In general, it is recommended to use 50 to 70 bulbs by m2 for a good production of flowers, and of bulbs for the second generation. This number is function of the size of bulbs and the conduct of the culture.
Device and fashion of plantation.
The plantation can make himself very well by collecting of 3 to 4 bulbs by hole (plantation in poquet) or by the stake of only one bulb by hole. The depth of the stake in earth is 15 to 20 cm. For the plantation in poquet, holes are distant of 10 to 15 cm on the board or the furrow. The disposition of bulbs is very well in simple or semidetached lines or in quinconce. The plantation can also make himself on the large furrows of 40 to 50 containing cm each 4 to 5 lines of plantation spaced of 10 cm. Furrows are distant one of the other of 20 to 25 cm to facilitate binageses and the passage of workers. In this case, bulbs are placed to a depth of 15 cm and 8 cm one of the other. In other situations, the adopted model consists in the plantation in large furrows of 25 to 30 cm in semidetached lines. Furrows have a depth of 12 to 15 cm and bulbs are distant of 8 cm on the same line and 10 cm between the adjacent lines. The disposition can be also in quinconce. For a yearly plantation to strong density, the plantation can be achieved by hole or by trench the long of the plantation line. Every bulb is placed to a depth of 10 to 15 cm and is distant of the neighboring bulb of 2 to 3 cm.
The most often, the culture of the saffron occupies soil during several years. Of this fact, it requires the rich soils in organic matter and in mineral elements. The manure of bottom is constituted in large part of manure of ovine or of bovines at the rate of 20 to 40 T/has. manure must be decomposed well and is inserted to soil on the one hand to the less 1 month before the plantation, to facilitate, the decomposition of the organic matter and, on the other hand, the development and the adventitious plant elimination. The mineral manures must be inserted to soil at the rate of 40 to 60 units of nitrogen, 60 to 80 units of phosphorus and 80 to 100 units of potassium. These contributions must be done at less 20 to 30 days before the plantation of bulbs and for the other years of production 20 to 30 days before the date likely of flower apparition. Manures are brought in only one time.
6/Irrigation and needs in water
Needs in water of the plant are appraised to 7.000 m3/ha/an. In Morocco, as rains are rare, irrigations are indispensable for a good production of saffron. Quantities and the frequency of contributions are function of the soil nature, of the stadium of development and the climatic conditions of the region. Because of its botanical structure, the bulb stores some elevated contents in water. Of this fact, the frequency of contributions is 1 to 2 times per month. Every irrigation brings 350 to 500 m3 by hectare. The number of irrigations depends on the nature of soil and precipitations recorded and especially of their distribution the long of the cycle. The first irrigation is made rightly after the plantation. In general, 8 to 10 irrigations are sufficient to satisfy needs in water of the culture. Contributions of water are done between September and April. Irrigation gravitaire is done with a total submersion of boards or furrows of plantation. Irrigations are done the morning early or late in the evening to avoid the evaporation of water.
7/Bad herb control
The adventitious plants that enter in competition with bulbs must be eliminated. The weeding is generally manual; however the contribution of the paraquat (2 to 4 l/has) as herbicide of meadow-emergence or post-emergence can be considered. The best period of application is June to August when the saffron is in vegetative rest. Not to use excessively in days hot.
8/Phyto-sanitary problems and enemies of the saffron
In the dry conditions, as it is the case of Morocco, enemies natural some plant is little numerous. However, nÃ©matodeses Ditylenchus dipsacis and attacks of Rhizoctonia sp. are to fear during the humid and hot periods of the year. These two interferences can cause some important damages to bulbs. They are generally controllable by the chemical treatments before or same after the plantation.
9/Collect and output of the saffron
Flowers appear 4 to 6 weeks of the plantation. The operation of pickup of saffron flowers is very delicate and require an important Å“uvre hand. The flowering of the saffron is spread out on several weeks with a pick where more than 60% of flowers emerge to the last week of October at the same time. The whole of the flower is harvested. Bulbs of a big size decorate with flowers the first, whereas the small bulbs and the belated plantations bloom later.
Flowers are harvested before their opening, early the morning before the arrival of heats of the day, in order to avoid the fanaison of stigmas that occurs once some hours of the opening of the flower this one exposed to the solar radiuses. In general, the length of harvest doesn't pass 2 per day at 3 o'clock. Collectors of flowers pass on billonses and harvest flowers that are them while doing near of the two sides attention to not damage flowers again closed of the other bulbs. The flower is taken to its basis between the inch and the index of the hand and it is cut by nails. The harvest is collected in the rigid baskets to avoid the crowding and the breakage of stigmas. Baskets are placed to the shade to prevent the dessÃ¨chement of flowers. The harvested saffron when flowers are opened entirely is considered of 2nd quality because of the loss of its quality organoleptique once exposition in the sun.
After the harvest, flowers are routed home or to the hangar for the separation of stigmas (the true saffron) of the other parts of the flower. This operation is achieved the same just day after the harvest. The taken precautions at the time of the recuperation of stigmas condition the quality of the product. Once stigmas are isolated, they are dried to the shade or on fire. After the drying, the saffron loses 4/5 of its water. The middle cool weight of 100 flower stigmas is slightly superior to 3g and the dry weight is closely 600 mgs.
The middle output of one hectare of saffron is very uncertain. If in certain safraniÃ¨reses, outputs don't pass 2 to 3 kg/has, in another one where techniques of production are followed well, these outputs can reach more than 10 kg/has easily.
The length of storage of the saffron is long if conditions of conservation are optimal. The quality of the saffron can be maintained for more than 3 years. Of the to the fact that it is a spice hygroscopique, the product must be preserved to the shelter of light and air. The utilization of containers in glass either colored opaque, closed tightly and placed in a dry place constitutes a good method of preservation of the quality of the saffron.
The saffron is a plant pÃ©renne having a big power of weariness of the soil fertility. In general, it is recommended to proceed to a renewal of the safraniÃ¨re from the 3rd year of plantation. In other situations, the renewal is only done after 5 to 7 years of production. In order to regenerate the fertility of soil, of other species, as cereals, vegetables, the tare, etc. are cultivated on the parcel for a length of 3 to 5 years before putting back of it a new plantation of saffron. The length of exclusion also depends on the length of saffron production on the same parcel.It is counseled that the used culture doesn't have any enemies (illnesses) in common with the culture of the saffron.