Paddy’s Poppy Garden - Week Two

Update Two Weeks Later
 It’s April 10th and Paddy decided the poppies on her one row looked like Chia Pets. So she trimmed them down and put them back in their pots and watered them. They seem to be growing about 1/2" per week.

Update - One Week Later

It was on Monday, April 3rd when we saw the first “life” in Paddy's Poppy Garden. Note that one
section of Paddy’s seedlings is very dense. This was because she used almost an entire seed packet to fill the one section. Later she was more diligent and scaled back the number of seeds applied to each “pot”.

If “Row Three” three looks dense, it’s because there's nearly
enough poppy seeds to cover a 10' x 20' garden.
Paddy says she will correct that when the poppies
get a little stronger,
“I watered every two days in this first week, and it seems like  there is some good growth,” said Paddy. “I really didn't expect as much ‘green’ so soon. I know I will have to snip back many of the huge crop in the one row, but it makes me feel good to see the poppies growing.”

We'll catch up with Paddy’s Poppies weekly. In another week, she may start putting them outside daily, and bringing them in at night.

Who is Paddy?

Paddy's Poppies on April 4, 2017
Paddy D. lives in Media, and all her life has loved gardening. Her mother had a degree in horticulture from Temple, and passed onto her love of flowers, gardening, and the rewards that come with the nurturing process.

Since Paddy doesn't have much light to grow poppies where she lives, she is planning her poppy garden in a small plot in Radnor, and wanted to get started early so that she’d have plants to put in the ground by Mothers Day in tribute of her late mother, as well as those who served in World War 1.

Paddy is very energetic, and gets to tasks promptly, so after returning from the World War One Centennial Committee meeting on Saturday, March 25th with seeds and planting instructions from the Master Gardeners Extension Program of Penn State University, she headed out to get supplies to start her project. We are documenting her journey from the initial stages through the growth of her garden for those who would like to have “early” gardens and then perhaps have second plantings for blooms throughout the summer of 2017.

Please return to this page on the site in a couple of weeks to see how her poppies are doing.

Paddy’s Poppies - Phase One

1. Paddy found that not all garden centers have peat pots, which according to the Master Gardeners are essential to early planting. She found hers, a packet of 50 at Mostardi's in Edgmont for about $6.00. She also picked some “Seed Starting Potting Mix” that was recommended because it promotes fast root growth.  2. Paddy used a Wawa plastic soup spoon to fill each pot. The pots are grouped in 10s for easy lifting and transporting, and then can be separated and planted when the plants reach 2" to 4"" in height after the first true leaves have appeared.  3. The soil settles, so Paddy patted down the flats to lightly compact the soil. She then added soil to better fill the pots. As her mother said, “Don't scrimp on the soil, it will settle more after it is watered.

4. Poppy seeds are very small, and though the Master Gardeners have said that one packet is enough to fill more than 200 sq feet of gardens, the number of seeds in the packet and the size belies that fact.  5. Paddy at first emptied the packet out on the working surface, and tried to pick up seeds and position them. She found that it was easier to tilt the packet and pull a few seeds out for each pot. Excess seedlings can be cut off with a scissors leaving the strongest seedling remaining in each pot.  6. Paddy used her mother's small copper watering can for the initial watering. It's small spout made it well suited for the task.
7. Paddy added water until the pots drained through the bottom hole of each pot to assuring each pot was thoroughly “wet”.  8. She then moved the pots to a window sill that faces east and gets morning light till early afternoon. She is now seeking out a flat to protect her sill. The poppy seeds will need to grow indoors for 5 to 6 weeks before pots can be the individual pots can be planted outdoors. The pots should be watered regularly, but NOT sopping.  9. (not shown) When it is time for the seedlings to be moved outdoors, the seedlings should be hardened off before setting them out permanently.  This can be accomplished by setting them outside during the day and moving them inside during the night for one week to allow them to adapt to the outside conditions.  They should not be moved outside until all danger of frost is past (usually around Mother’s Day).