The right answer depends upon the climate and in particular on how it is grown. All varieties of saffron are susceptible to the same causes; they decay quickly, their flowers have very little water, and they can be easily contaminated by the water with which they are grown. As the plant is in the flower phase, it makes it easy to deal with its natural effects. A good climate also makes it possible to harvest the seeds in early spring. The best climates to grow saffron is that which reaches an average degree of dryness of only 2-3 inches. This has been calculated by Mr. J. L. Taylor, an American chemist, and the results are summarized in table 11. The soil should be sandy, not fertile, which is a desirable result in the Southern United States. A well-drained clay soil will make the plant dry better, but this will cause the plants to remain young, and it will give a higher yield. The best soil temperature to cultivate the plant is about 85° F and dry the flower on the surface of the soil within 1-3 days. In some places the temperature may be higher—at San Felipe, N. Y., in the mid-latitudes of New York State and the Atlantic coast of Canada; at Leavenworth, Kansas; or at Gaffney, Miss. At the southern extremity of North America there is a high temperature, and this is the right season for saffron when the flowers are young and in full flower. Fertile soils are also very necessary. It has been found that if the saffron plant is cultivated in well-drained soil the flowers last 3 to 4 weeks. If the plants are grown on clay soils, they last 6 weeks. The plants are so tender that they should be cut at the first sign of decay. The flowers are so tender that the plants should be cut at the same time as the cuttings for the cutting. The plants should be harvested at the right time. The most important condition in the right time is the temperature, the right water supply, and the right moisture. Some cultures of the saffron plant are still growing at this period in the Southwestern United States, where it is very hot. There are about 10,000 varieties of the plant and if enough are cultivated to furnish sufficient flowers for the trade, more varieties would be cultivated.
TABLE 11.—TESTIMONIALS OF THE SEEDS OF SEEDED
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