Croydon’s going potty for crocuses, with a topping-up session held today at Saffron Central, the pop-up crocus farm on the site of Taberner House, the council’s former office block.
More than 16,000 pots were filled with compost and Crocus Sativus corms last week. Today’s efforts saw any remaining corms planted and preparations made to ensure the crop grows on for the saffron harvest in a couple of months’ time.
Project creator Ally McKinlay also left a present for the people of Croydon as a thank you for not just funding the project but putting it all together at such a rapid rate.
“Opportunities are presenting themselves on a daily basis, people really seem to have taken the project to heart but this is just the start,” he said.
On Monday, McKinlay presented councillors from every ward of the borough with a pack of 60 corms each to take into their respective areas with the task of ensuring they are planted in a community garden.
This starts the process of Croydon Saffron Central giving communities the opportunity to see the crocuses bloom this November. A mapping device has been created, called “Croydon – Crocus Valley”, using am App called TiCL which is available on Apple and Android devices here.
“TiCL will allow people to find the local saffron farms through GPS. If you install the app and search for ‘Croydon – Crocus Valley’ it will tell you exactly where they are located in the 24 wards of Croydon,” McKinlay said.
After the saffron is harvested from Saffron Central later this autumn, a further 800-plus plants will be offered to each ward in Croydon to establish local saffron farms and further recreate the Crocus Valley which gave Croydon its name.
McKinlay reckons that harvesting the saffron – the spice is worth more than its weight in gold – should happen around Bonfire Night. “Volunteers will be needed to help extract the saffron stigmas. Some tweezers, a steady hand and a deep heavy pot are essential. The ability to squat or the possession of a low stool would also be pretty useful,” he said.
“Having checked the site on Friday, I’m delighted to report that a handful of shoots are above soil level. Some pots do need a bit more soil in them so we will get that sorted on Sunday.”
For more information on the project, contact Ally McKinlay at Ally_Mac22@hotmail.com, on Twitter @BadgerJellyfish or there is a Facebook page “Croydon Saffron Central”.
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