Divide and propagate

The lovely purple flower and bright orange stigma of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) thrills nature lovers and cooks each Fall upon their emergence. But now, as the corm has gone dormant, I am tasked with the long delayed need to divide and propagate.

Years ago to protect these rare and valuable corms, I created wire cages to thwart their capture by squirrels and other rodent-like thieves. altThey have done their job well, with nary a loss over the years.

Pulling the first cage from the garden, I feel a bit of anticipation as would one digging up buried treasure. Indeed, my chest is full of rounded tuberous gems, which have reproduced to almost entirely fill their containers. Little soil is left.

I carefully clean them off letting them dry so I can replant but I am not ready for my bounty: the original 50 corms have reproduced five-fold to over 250. I think I will need more cages.

Luckily I have some spare steel fencing that I can cut and fashion into tops and bottoms. It takes a bit of time to figure out the geometry, but after some careful measurements and cutting, I am able to nearly double the number of cages I have.

They fit nicely ready to be buried into one of my raised beds. But I still need to find a place (and build cages) for a bunch more corms. Another day’s project. alt

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