The Sunday Snatch featuring California Poppy Seeds

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My partner in life and crime has informed me that today’s Snatch is on the boring side.  Maybe so for those of you who already have some of these beauties in your space, but still somewhat thrilling for anyone who’s looking to add something new and free!  Though, this mission definitely requires some ability for delayed gratification.


The California poppies in my yard have begun to slow down in the bloom department, but they’re gearing up as far as seed production goes.  So now’s the time to gather some up if you’re interested in getting them established in new areas.  If you’re happy with where they’re at, just leave them alone and they will continue on their merry way.  These types of flowers almost always come back completely from seed each year – the whole plant will die back and you’ll get a new one (or hundreds depending on how much viable seed each plant makes) next year.  It might be the case that the entire  plant survives year-round in some climates, but definitely not here in the desert.


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Okay, so what you are looking for are the long tube-shaped pods that form after the flower petals have dropped.  They will go from skinny to plump as the seeds mature, and eventually the tube will dry out and explode, acting as a sling-shot for its contents.  You want to catch the tubes when they are plump but still green – too thin and the seeds won’t mature as readily, too dry and the pod will most likely explode as you handle it.  It’s not terribly tricky business – once you check them out you’ll see what I mean.


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So, just start trimming the pods with some scissors, store them in a breathable container with a lid (I put mine in a Trader Joe’s cardboard coffee container – lid is essential or the sling-shot mechanics send your seeds everywhere) and forget about them until the first winter rain (at which point you can toss them about your yard – preferably where they can settle into some nooks and crannies, like between rocks or under some mulch).  Until then, it’s a good idea to store them somewhere dark and dry, like a closet.  You’ll hear them pop open as they dry out.


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Happy seed hunting to you!  You’ll be pleased next spring when you see your sleuthing put on display.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.  I myself will be charting out the spring “to-do” list: re-coating the roof, patching adobe cracks, digging footers for a shade structure – all the stuff that becomes somewhat impossible in May/June.  Soaking up the 80 degree days while they last!

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