Tuesday, January 27

First Poppies at the Farm

For years I admired poppies growing in other people's gardens. There were bright red and orange poppies growing at old farmhouses, pale pink poppies growing around compost piles and huge nearly-black poppies growing in my cousin, Linda's yard.

When I inquired about growing them I was advised that they were resistant to being moved, even called finiky. I thought most of the poppies I had seen were growing with almost no care in the most difficult places so how hard could it be?

When I moved to the farm I had a greenhouse built. One of the first things I did was purchase a package of poppie seeds. I sowed the whole package of seeds in one small plastic box and they all germinated.

I dumped the box of seedlings out on the work table and seperated them with a short pencil. I planted each seedling in a section of a container called a six-pack. Once the seedlings were larger I repotted them in four inch pots. As the plants grew I kept them evenly watered and soon they were ready to be potted up again, this time in quart containers. The next pot-up was into gallon containers and I counted out four hundred pots.

That year the farm grew in every way: I installed thirty gardens, installed a driveway to access the gardens, converted a small room attached to the side of the main house to a gift shop. converted the summer kitchen, located at the back of the house, to a tea room and built a shade house to keep the potted plants out of direct sun.

I moved the pots of poppies to the shade house and put tags on them for sale. At the same time I planted several plants out near the road. When the poppies bloomed they stopped traffic. The blooms were large, bright red and had black centers. My plants began to sell due to the terrific display.

The package of seeds had cost about $2.00 and I priced the gallon size pots at $6.00. Other costs were the different size pots and potting material, not to mention the labor. I can't put a cost on the labor because it was therapy for me and therapy would have cost about $125.oo an hour. I actually made money on the labor.

The picture above is of a decendent of one of the poppies I grew at the farm. When I sold the farm (located on Shandelee Mountain near Livingston Manor, NY) I moved pots of poppies to The Potager (my business in Wurtsboro, NY). When The Potager sold my daughter, Mickey Lanza, moved some pots of poppies to my daughter's, Melissa Lanza, business located near Wurtsboro. I made a trip home and while there I took this picture.


  1. Hello Ms. Pat,
    I have started my first lasagna garden today, 14 May, 2009 in Athens Georgia. I have a blog about my art, etc., but also now my lasagna garden -- where you may see its progression starting tomorrow, 15 May. SO so happy I found your site, your book and your blog.
    Take care.
    Candace in Athens

  2. Candance! Sorry it took me so lont to see this comment. I am going to your blog today and hope you will stay in touch about your gardening and art.
    Cheers, Pat