Poppy Growing Tips & Tricks

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Firstly, you want to prepare the ground properly for growing poppies. Till up the area you want to plant the poppy seeds in. You can use a power tiller, which is one of the better tools to use, but utilising your basic hand shovel, pick, hoe or rake will be sufficient as well. It is recommended to add some sort of organic fertilizer to the soil before you begin. Cow manure is a better choice but it will result in a lot of weeds. Chicken manure, that has been allowed to rest for at least a year to remove harmful bacteria, can also be used. Once you have properly prepared the ground you can then plant your poppy seeds and begin growing poppies.

Poppy Growing

There are approximately 2 points of times during the course of a year that are most suited for planting poppy seeds for poppy growing. Those 2 ideal times are in the spring and autumn. Poppies are a very durable type of plant species and they don't mind the cold, so plant your poppy seeds right after the snowy season. If it doesn't snow where you reside, then feel free to plant the poppy seeds around February for the best poppy growing time. Simply spread the seeds in the area you want them to grow in. If you live in a very dry type of climate, make sure you water the poppy seeds on a consistent basis to maximize your poppy growing effectiveness. The poppy seeds should sprouting between 1-3 weeks and may depend on the weather conditions in your area. Since the seeds are so tiny, some poppy growing enthusiasts prefer to sow the seeds with a mixture of sand and seed and then sprinkle the poppy seeds with that method. As a result, you will notice that the poppies will not grow to be so closely packed together. Based on your own preference, you can plant them in parallel rows or wherever you want.

Some people, who learn how to grow poppies properly, like to thin the plants from about 8-10 inches apart when the poppy seedlings grow to a height of approximately 5-6 inches. If you do decide to thin out the poppy plants, the poppies which remain will start to fill out more and produce more poppy seed pods per plant. After the plants are about 10 inches tall begin to provide a liquid fertilizer. How to grow poppies properly depends on how the individual "feeds" their growing poppies. Some prefer to use fish fertilizer, which works well for the organic gardener and some use common vegetable fertilizers. You can purchase any of these types of fertilizers at your local garden store but be diligent to follow the directions on the water mix. Fertilize and water on a regular basis until you see the poppy seed pods begin to form.

Growing Poppies

If done correctly your poppy pod plants will grow long stems with the flower and poppy seed pod at the top. The poppy flowers last from about 3-8 days and then the flower petals will begin fall off. Then the poppy plant will attempt to use all of its remaining energy to reproduce. The poppy seed pods will grow large with seeds and eventually the seed vents will open up to re-seed themselves. This is the perfect time to collect the seeds for purposes such as cooking or making poppy seed tea. Make sure you save some seeds so that you can continue growing opium poppies in the fall. Furthermore, this is also the ideal moment to cut the poppy pods, with their stems, off so that you can dry them and make beautiful dried floral arrangements.

Large dried poppy pod heads are often used in wreaths to enhance their aesthetic appeal. The long stems dry straight and hard and can be used for numerous things such as support sticks for other dried plants or even for use in arts and crafts projects. For cooking, you can use the poppy seeds for everything from poppy seed cakes and muffins, to being an essential ingredient in herbal butters and as a decorative topping on cookies and also as a tasty poppy seed dressing. In some cultures, poppy seeds are even used to make flour and as an ingredient in most of their cooking.

Growing Opium Poppies

For growing opium poppies in the autumn make sure to plant your poppy seeds around the month of September and properly prepare the soil as previously mentioned. Poppies are very resilient so they should survive the cold winter season just fine. However, just to be on the safe side, save about half of the poppy seeds for growing poppies in the spring.

Poppies are very exotic looking plants and are a beautiful addition to any garden whether small or large. Please remember that they do contain alkaloids that are considered in some countries to be a narcotic. It may be illegal in your country to practice poppy growing so be very careful and always double check your local laws. It is definitely illegal to harvest the raw opium these plants produce.

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