A lot of you have been asking about how to get extra income from growing hydroponic plants. In order to earn profits, you have to grow plants with a high retail price, and what is more expensive than saffron. It made me wonder, can we grow saffron hydroponically?
So, can we grow saffron hydroponically? Yes, hydroponic saffron can be grown easily. You can grow hydroponic saffron and due to its extremely high price, you can earn a tremendous amount of profits that can reach 6 figures every year
Earning profits using your hydroponic system is not a difficult job to do, especially, when you choose a highly valuable crop to grow like saffron.
Of course, you will have to make sure things are running smoothly on your journey of earning profits growing hydroponic saffron, and that’s why I decided to write this article so that it can be a guide for everyone to follow.
In this article, I will show you in detail how can you reach the 6 figure income milestone while growing hydroponic saffron. Moreover, you will learn more about the most optimum growing conditions that will boost your saffron yield dramatically.
Hydroponic Saffron Price
Saffron is among the most expensive, if not the most expensive spice out there. It has been known to be an extremely high-priced spice since the 7th century.
The wholesale price of saffron can range from $500 to $5000 per pound. The cost depends hugely on the quality of the produced dry saffron. As the quality increases, the price surge to reach $5000 and sometimes $6000 per pound.
Can you imagine how profitable growing saffron can be? Moreover, using hydroponics can speed up the growth rate so that you can produce a higher yield when compared to using soil.
However, dollar signs shouldn’t be rolling down your eyes right now. There are still some aspects you will need to get informed about. The prices mentioned above are for a pound of dried saffron spice.
To get an idea, in order to collect one pound of fresh saffron, you will need to collect around 200,000 stigmas from approximately 70,000 saffron flowers.
I didn’t mean to dash your hopes of earning large amounts of profits, but this is the truth. However, this is not the end of the road. Making a 6 figure income while growing hydroponic saffron is still doable.
How To Make A 6 Figure Income Growing Hydroponic Saffron
Making a significant income growing hydroponic crops has been the dream of many hydroponic enthusiasts worldwide. Lucky for us, we have crops like saffron that have a relatively high price and can reward us with a profitable income at the end of the season.
In order to reach the 6 figure mark growing saffron, you have to take several things into consideration. The first crucial aspect is that your hydroponic saffron must be grown indoors. Growing it in an indoor area will provide better control over the growing conditions which will lead to maximizing the yield per harvest.
Another thing is that we will have to grow saffron 4 times a year to ensure we are getting the highest yield possible to maximize profits. Usually, saffron takes 2.5 to 3 months from planting to reaching the harvest stage.
Lets Do the Actual Math
So let’s dive straight into the math. To get 1 lb of dried saffron threads, you have to harvest the stigmas of around 67,500 Crocus Sativus flowers. This means that in order for you to get around 10 lb of dried saffron per season, you have to grow 675,000 Crocus Sativus bulbs.
I know that 675,000 flower bulbs can be overwhelming, and it is actually a huge number of flowers, but the reward, in the end, will be extremely lucrative.
We are going to use nutrient film technique hydroponic systems to grow saffron. The reason I chose the NFT system is because of its extremely small size. It uses so little space that we can place more units in the same growing area resulting in an overall increase in the yield produced.
The NFT systems that we are going to use will have around 72 spots per unit. So, let’s do the math and calculate how many NFT units are we going to use in order to grow 675,000 saffron bulbs.
Every saffron plant can grow up to 4 flowers per spot. But when it comes to numbers, I prefer being conservative, so, I will assume that every saffron plant will result in an average of 2 flowers per spot.
675,000/2 Flowers Per Spot = 337,500 Spots 337,500/72 spots = 4,687 Units
Every NFT unit takes an average of 4 ft square of a growing area. To save as much space as possible, we must implement vertical farming designs. If we used traditional hydroponics to grow 675,000 saffron bulbs every 3 months, it will require an extremely large growing area.
We will use vertical farming to grow 3 levels of hydroponic saffron in order to save space. Moreover, saffron is a plant that can easily be suited in a vertical hydroponic system because of its short height. An average saffron plant can grow to reach around 8” to 12”.
|4,687 Units X 4 Square ft. =||18,748 Square ft.|
|18,748 Square ft./ 3 Levels =||6,250 Square ft.|
The growing area required to grow 675,000 saffron bulbs using 3 levels of vertical farming hydroponic units will be 6,250 Square ft.
How Much Are You Going To Get From Growing Hydroponic Saffron
As I have mentioned before, to get 1 lb of dried saffron spice, you have to grow 67,500 flowers. With 6,250 square ft. of 3 levels vertical hydroponic system, growing 675,000 saffron bulbs is a doable goal to achieve.
Growing this number of saffron bulbs will result in the production of 10 lbs of dried saffron threads per growing period. Assuming that we are getting a price of $2,500 per pound, we will end up with $25,000 in sales per quarter.
10 lbs X $2,500 = $25,000
Saffron has a growing period of 3 months to reach the harvest stage. So, as I have mentioned before, we are going to grow it 4 times per year.
$25,000 X 4 Growing Cycles = $100,000
The Costs Of Growing Hydroponic Saffron
Of course, you will not be coming home with all of the $100,000, there are expenses that must be paid in order for your hydroponic saffron to reach the harvest stage.
Not to mention that you are trying to grow 675,000 saffron flowers, which will require a tremendous amount of effort just to take care of them. The monthly expenses can be huge.
Growing saffron flowers in these quantities will significantly boost your electricity bill at the end of the month. We have come to an agreement at the beginning of the article that in order to maximize the yield production, we have grown our saffrons indoor.
To find out how much is it going to cost you to grow hydroponic crops indoors, check out this article that I have spent almost 8 hours researching to finally come up with the exact numbers.
Indoor facilities consume electricity in several different ways. Artificial growing lights for example are one of the main appliances that consume a lot of electricity.
Although the recent advancements of LED grow lights have shown a significant increase in efficiency, they still consume a lot higher electricity when compared to other appliances. Air pumps, water pumps, and climate control systems will also consume a tremendous amount of electricity when combined together.
What I am really worried about is the cost of labor. Imagine hiring people to harvest 675,000 saffron bulbs every 3 months. These expenses can be jaw-dropping when compared to the monthly electricity bills.
To give you an idea, in order to harvest 150,000 saffron flowers, you will need to pay for 40 hours of labor. So, our 675,000 saffron flowers would require around 180 continuous labor hours during the harvest stage.
The above numbers are for the harvest stage only, I didn’t mention the amount of labor needed just to take care of the entire saffron crop during the 3-month growing period.
The Growing Conditions Of Hydroponic Saffron
During the 3 months of growing hydroponic saffron, you have to maintain the following conditions strictly to maximize the yield as much as possible. Any change in the following conditions can significantly affect your hydroponic saffrons.
If the alterations in the growing conditions are extreme, it can lead to losing a huge chunk of your crop. So please make sure that everything is well monitored constantly.
The Best Temperature For Hydroponic Saffron
The best temperature to grow hydroponic saffron ranges between 60°F to 70°F.
If the temperature falls below this range, the saffron growth rate will be significantly decreased. Keeping the temperatures at this range is also crucial for the saffrons to reach the flowering stage.
Try to keep the temperature at 65°F most of the time. It has been proven that this temperature ends to highly stimulate the saffrons to flower. If the temperature exceeds the 75°F for long periods of time, it can result in flower abortion.
The Nutrient Solution Of Hydroponic Saffron
The nutrient solution of hydroponic saffron must be kept at a pH of 5.5. Moreover, the EC should be 1.4.
If you would take my advice, I highly encourage separating the nutrient solution of every NFT unit. Instead of having one massive central reservoir that contains the nutrient solution of the entire saffron crop, try separating it into several small reservoirs.
By doing it this way, you will minimize the risk of messing up the entire yield. If there is some of your systems got infected by a disease, it can be transmitted to the entire saffron plant immediately.
Moreover, if there is something wrong with the pH or EC values, it will not hit all of your saffron flowers. It will only affect the saffron plants connected to this nutrient solution reservoir.
Light Requirements of Hydroponic Saffron
The hydroponic saffrons require a light exposure of 14 -16 hours in the pre-flowering period. Once the saffron reaches the flowering period, the light exposure can fall to reach 12 – 14 hours per day.
Of course, the light source of the hydroponic saffron will be artificial growing lights. Depending on sunlight only will significantly reduce the maximum yield and will not allow us to use vertical farming.
Harvesting The Hydroponic Saffron
Harvesting 675,000 saffron bulbs can be extremely overwhelming if not done properly. Try to hire labor with past experience in vertical hydroponic farming as this can save you a huge headache.
When the harvesting season begins at the end of each growing cycle, you must know a very important fact. The stigma threads in the middle of a saffron flower are the most important part of the entire plant.
Drying And Storing Hydroponic Saffron
After collecting the stigma threads, you are now left with another critical job, which is drying and storing the saffron.
Fresh saffron stigma threads must be dried well to get a high-quality final product. There are several methods to dry saffron threads, one of them is dehydration under temperatures.
Dehydration with high temperatures can be done by placing the saffron threads in a sieve and heat them over a gas stove at 122 – 176°F for 30-60 minutes. This process must be done until the moisture reaches a maximum of 5-15%.
After that, you should store the saffron in airtight plastic bags. If the bags aren’t tight enough or the dried saffron moisture is above 15%, fungi can spoil it in a matter of days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is saffron expensive? Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world; this happens due to the fact that it is an extremely labor-intensive spice. 1 lb of saffron can cost up to $6,000.