‘Never be afraid to be a poppy in a field of daffodils.’
by Michaela DePrince
I love poppies, especially the red ones. So I am trying my hand at growing them from seed for the first time. Because I live in the city, my space is limited so most of the borders are dedicated to vegetable beds and evergreen shrubs and trees. But, an 8’x2′ area is now dedicated to just poppies.
To prepare the area, I paid someone to build a cedar raised bed 8′ x 2′ x 8″ deep, filled it with sandy, loamy soil, and am waiting for a bit cooler weather to sow the seeds. If you’ve eaten bagels with poppy seeds, that’s the same tiny poppy seeds I will be planting in a few months.
There are many species of poppies with colors ranging from whites to reds, some are annuals, some are perennials, and there’s even one that is in the shrub family. The poppies that I will be planting are the papaver somniferum.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I am fascinated with the medical properties of plants and is why I choose papaver somniferum to grow. Did you know there is a federal museum dedicated to addictive plants (cannabis, opium, coca)? The museum and Visitor Center is run by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) in the US. Take a look at both websites…it’s very interesting!
- www.deamuseum.org, history of addictive plants
- Drug Enforcement Agency Museum & Visitor Center, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA
Interesting uses for poppy seeds
- poppy seeds are used for the production of dried latex and opium, the main ingredient in morphine, heroin, and codeine.
- They are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium, and protein.
- Oil from poppy seed is often used as cooking oil, salad dressing oil, or in products like margarine. Poppy oil can also be added to spices for cakes or bread.