Poppies in your garden? Save their seeds!

Poppies with their big showy petals and their fat green pods are next on #seedsavingformarketgrowers.

There are a number of different poppy species. But what I have in mind when I’m talking about poppies are the species Papaver somniferum.

And they are very high on the EASY seed saving list.

In some cases you simply shake the seed pods upside down and the seeds fall into your container perfectly clean. Or you can crack the seed head open to reveal a bowl full of perfect poppy seeds.

What an abundance. A few seed pods will give you more poppy seeds than you could ever plant.

Now with these big showy petals, you’re probably thinking these poppies are CROSSERS. And you’re right, if you were trying to keep a variety totally true to type, you couldn’t grow it right beside another poppy.

But,as an avid fan of crossed-up flowers, I’ve found it frustrating how little poppies will cross when they are side by side. It seems like barely 5% of the blooms have crossed. It might have to do with exactly when each variety is in flower but I also have a hunch that poppies can tolerate a lot of self pollination.

A distance of 300’ between varieties should be enough to keep your poppies from crossing.

If you’ve got some poppies in your garden, save their seeds!!!

The PROS of saving Poppy seed:

  • Readily dries down in field
  • Very easy to extract the seed
  • Very easy to clean the seed
  • Tons of blooms even if you let a few go to seed
  • There are some solid open pollinated varieties
  • Annual – from seed to seed in 1 season

The CONS of saving Poppy seed:

  • Crossers gonna cross (or will they?)

SEED YIELD:

3 lbs to 6 lbs from a 100ft bed

SEED LIFE:

3-5 years


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