California Poppy Yellow
Poppy (Papever somniferum) is a 2 to 3 feet tall hardy annual, grown for its seeds, which are used for culinary purposes. Poppy grows best in full sun and requires well-drained, fertile soil. Sow seeds in early spring in rows 12 to 24 inches apart and cover with 1/8 inch of soil. The seed bed should remain moist until plants emerge, which takes 7 to 28 days depending on soil temperature. Thin before plants are 6 inches tall with final in-row spacing of 6 to 8 inches. Water sparingly and lightly fertilize until plants are fully mature and begin flower production. Control insects and diseases during plant establishment prior to the onset of flowering in order to maximize seed production. Flowering begins in late spring to early summer followed by seed pod maturation in mid- to late summer (80–90 days after planting). Harvest during dry weather conditions when the seeds begin to rattle inside the pod. Because seed poppies enjoy warm, dry environments, many cultivars are suitable for Utah.
Poppy seeds are extremely small (100,000+ seeds per ounce). Seeds should be sown sparingly in shallow furrows or surface broadcast. To prevent over seeding, mix seed with fine sand and broadcasted mixture. Poppy seeds need light to germinate. Cover seed with no more than 1/8 inch of soil. Seeds also germinated better when exposed to freezing and thawing conditions; therefore, sow seeds either in late fall or very early spring. Plant growth and development is slow, and seed maturation takes up to 5 months, so early sowing is essential. Seeds germinate slowly requiring 4 weeks to emerge in cool weather and 2 weeks if the weather is warmer.