You may remember my beautifully blooming red poppies back in March. The seed pods have now dried and it is time to collect the seeds.
I harvest the seeds for two reasons. The biggest reason is control. Poppies re-seed very, very easily and I already have many blooming. Each seed pod contains several hundred seeds (maybe even 1000’s – I am just guessing here) basically what I am saying is A LOT seeds in each pod. I really don’t want that many seeds scattered, so I collect the seed pods.
The second reason to collect seeds is to be able to share them with other people. My mom taught me to collect and save seeds when I was quite young. I continue collecting and saving seeds today. I am constantly starting plants from seeds. Sure, you can go buy many plants, but I like the price tag on collected and saved seeds (usually free) and I like the thrill of doing it myself.
With my “accidental” poppy patch this spring, I knew I would have more seeds then I knew what to do with so I started harvesting the smaller pods before they dried and the seeds scattered.
If you want to collect and save seeds, you need to wait until the seed pod is dry and the top area has opened up.
These pods (above) are dry and ready to harvest. You can see some in the background of the photo that are still green.
Be careful not to spill them…. They are FULL of seeds. I carry a bucket with me and cut one at a time to put in bucket. Once I have harvested as many as I want, I will shake each head to get all the seeds out and remove the pods. You can keep the pods for dried flower arrangements or crafts, or just toss them in the compost. I have a vase of dried poppy pods in our living room. I love the shape and the feel of them.
I will leave the seeds in the bucket for a few weeks and continue to move them around to make sure they are completely dry before I put them in an envelope and bring them in the house. If they are not completely dry they could start to get moldy.
Even keeping a close eye on the pods as they dry and getting out there to cut them daily, there is no way to avoid some of those seeds scattering naturally. Next year I am more interested in growing edible poppy seeds that these ornamental poppies (although they sure are beautiful.) I will have to plant the edible ones in a different garden so I can identify them. They are a different color, but I won’t know they when they all spout and I need to thin them before they have flowered and I can see their color.
Do you collect seeds?