Less Noise, More Green: Harvesting Poppy Seeds

Friday, September 12, 2014

Harvesting Poppy Seeds

Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue, harvesting poppy seeds

I didn't think I was going to have any poppy seeds this year. Poppy seeds need to be sprinkled over the soil in the fall or late winter and with the installation of my edible landscape happening in the spring, the earliest I could sow was late May. I almost didn't bother but I'm so glad I threw caution and seed to the wind and tried anyway.

Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue, harvesting poppy seeds
The beginning of a seed pod

What a wonderful surprise these poppies were. I chose Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue (Papauer somniferum) because the seed pods are large and produce lots of edible seeds. By July, I had a few poppies happily growing and producing gorgeous lavender blue flowers. 

Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue seed pod, harvesting poppy seeds

I've been watching the seed heads as I work around the garden, looking for the tell tale signs that they are ready for picking. Immature pods are green and healthy. When ready to release the seeds they are carrying, the pods turn a brown, blue/green color and begin to dry up. 

Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue, seed pods, harvesting poppy seeds

The 'crown' on the top of the pod is flat in an immature pod. When ready to send seed into the world, the crown stands up revealing tiny holes from which the seeds are released. The pods begin to bend over so the seeds can escape.
 Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue pod and seeds
As each pod became ready I simply cut off the stem and kept the pod upright in a jar until ready to harvest. All this involves is turning the pod upside down and shaking the seeds into a bowl. Too much fun!
 Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue seeds, harvesting poppy seeds
I'm going to end up with just a few tablespoons of seed this year, enough for a batch or two of lemon poppy seed muffins. Next year, however, my garden will be full of poppies and my pantry will hold a jar of seeds. It doesn't get better than that.

See you in the garden,


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  1. I grew these same poppies in my yard this year! They were so beautiful in bloom and so much fun to harvest the seeds from. I am sure there will be lots of volunteers in my garden next year.

    1. Thank you for all your comments! I'm excited to see more of these poppies in my garden next year.

  2. I just planted a bunch of poppy seeds! I am so excited to harvest seeds from them later this year :). Thanks for this!

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  6. Hi, curious about the different colors of the seeds in your picture. Are the brownish seeds immature, and the black seeds mature? I grew/harvested the same poppies, but tried to sift out the brown seeds. The brown seeds were much smaller than the black and, as I recall, black was the only color in the original seed packet. Thanks

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