Now Sowing: Poppy (October–December)


Sow this beautiful flowering plant in your garden in the cooler months of October, November, and December.

Check out some poppy seeds. Look up Poppy seeds in the catalog

Common Name: Breadseed Poppy, Opium Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver Somniferum

Seed Saving Level: Advanced


Poppies are annuals that reseed easily. They like full sun, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and can grow up to four feet tall.  Sow 1/8 inch deep and thin to 12 inches apart when seedlings are 2 inches high.


You can remove spent blossoms by “deadheading” or pinching off the dead flowers every week to prolong the blooming period. Flowers are highly toxic if eaten. However, seeds from Papaver Somniferum poppies are edible (unlike other poppies). Sweet and nutty—they can be used to flavor breads, rolls and cakes.

Seed Saving 

Pods will turn brown and hard, eventually cracking open to release the tiny seeds. Wait until fully dry before harvesting or it may affect viability. If the pod rattles when shaken, it is a good indicator that it’s time for harvest. Pluck and let the seeds continue to dry in an open container. Cover tightly to store in a cool, dry place.


Poppy Seed Cake


  •      1 c poppy seeds
  •      1 c milk or soy milk
  •      1 c (8 oz.) unsalted butter or margarine
  •      2 c all purpose flour
  •      2 c sugar
  •      3 large eggs, separated
  •      2 tsp salt
  •      2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  •      Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


In a small saucepan, combine the poppy seeds and milk. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to rest until cool, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large loaf or tube pan by greasing it with margarine and lightly flouring the inside of the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter or margarine and sugar. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and poppy seed-milk mixture, and beat until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well; remove bowl from mixer and set aside.

Place a clean bowl in mixer with a whisk attachment, and whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into batter. Scrape into pan, and bake until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes. When cool, dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.