Growing opium poppy’s have been the normal medicinal practice for thousands of years. Opium has a medicinal cultural and can be dated as far back as 2100BC; many people use still for pain relief. The developing country’s do not have a proper medical system, leaving many people without medication. Without the opium poppy, many people would suffer, as well as, leave the majority of people without pain medication.
Only in developed country’s we rely solely on pharmaceutical company’s. Pharmaceutical companies condone the use of herbal/ natural pain relief; therefore, laws protect pharmaceutical profits rather than the people. There you have it, an extremely short history listen. Lets get on with growing opium poppy’s either indoors or outside.
First, here is more about poppy history and production practices; the ‘dea museum’ has awesome literature and is extremely easy to read; its not full of marketing.
Opium poppy requires very little effort to produce the special alkaloids. Poppy’s require the basics components of life such as soil, nutrients and sunlight. The most important requirement for high alkaloid production is genetics. You must acquire real genetics that offer high alkaloids, otherwise you will only produce trace amounts of morphine, codeine, thebaine and papverine. We offer Danish Flag & China White poppy seeds. Lets review the next most important requirement, lighting!
Opium poppy’s are usually grown outdoors; but its possible to grow opium poppy’s indoors under artificial lights. The best lights for growing poppy’s indoor is T5-high output lights or metal halide conversion bulbs. When growing under T5 high-output lighting, you will require a minimal of 4x55Watt bulb at 6500 CCT (kalvin). This will allow you to grow approach 8 plants; you can grow much more under MH lighting.
T5- 55watt bulbs are sold as 4 foot lengths and can be daisy chained together. Using T5 limits your growing foot print compared to MH lighting. When growing under MH or HPS lamps you can dramatically increase your growing sq/ft but sacrifice the growing spectrum AKA color temperature of your bulbs.
Growing with a metal halide (MH) bulb is acceptable but one should grow with a minimal of 400watt. A 400watt MH can plug into a standard 120volt circuit and controlled with a 1750watt rated timer. Ideally a 600 metal halide conversion bulb used in conjunction with 600HPS digital ballast to grow a excellent crop with large, multi head pods.
Pot Size & Planting
Container is important for yield but not so important for success. Ideally, two gallon pots should be used when growing opium poppy’s inside. The bigger the container the more pods you will get. The more pods you get, the more milk you will produce.
Grow medium: HP Pro Mix or Sunshine #4
Using HP Pro Mix soil-less grow medium is acceptable and common for any indoor grower. Ideally, supplementing the grow mix with some organic manure such as sheep/goat or steer manure is optional but ideal. Otherwise, one should use a hydroponic fertilizer.
When growing poppy’s outside one should ideally plant within the ground and add supplement manure to the soil. The bigger the hole the better for planting. Plant the jiffy that your poppy seed germinated in;otherwise plant several seeds within the prepared hole. Planting opium poppy seed should be completed early spring or late fall. More info about germination to follow.
Make sure your hole has excellent drainage and is not in a low location. You do not want water to drain towards your plants. Make sure you have the most sunlight exposure you can find. Ideally a South or South West is best for growing opium poppy’s.
Nutrient Feed & pH Ranges
Opium poppy plants do not require much feed and do not require high PPM of nutrient. Try to keep your nutrient strength to a minimal; 600PPM of total dissolved salt is usually acceptable. The pH range of your feed should be 6.5 to 7.2pH. The pH range is very easy to achieve but harder to maintain if using peat moss as a medium.
Try to blend your soil and add lime powder to your soil. Adding lime powder will help bring the pH range to neutral, which is perfect for opium poppy’s. HP Pro Mix is better than Sunshine Mix #4 because it does contain a buffer agent.
Your nutrient solution should have all the micro and macro elements plant available. It is best to use a high synthetic hydroponic nutrient solution as your primary feed; stay away from time release and powders. Using hydroponic nutrient’s is expensive but approx $100.00 should complete one cycle of growing.
Poppy’s thrive well in cooler temperatures, making the options available to all who want to grow poppy’s. Poppy seeds germinate in cool temperature with the present of light; this is the opposite to cannabis seeds. The poppy plant will thrive with cooler grow rooms or basements without the need of heat source. Temperatures ranging from 15C to 24C is ideal.
When growing opium poppy’s you must first germinate your seeds.To germinate your poppy seeds you need a cool environment with some light. A basement floor is ideal with T5 lighting above your seed tray. A very simple step by step guide as follows:
Step 1: Use jiffy pellets to house your germination seed; the pellets use finally grounded germination soil so your seed does not get lost. Opium poppy seeds are very small and can be washed away when watering. The jiffy pellets require about 5-10 minutes to absorb the water.
Step 2: Squeeze the jiffy’s slightly and place on a seed tray; the jiffy’s should be fully saturated. Place the poppy seeds approx 1/4 below the surface of the soil. The seeds do require light to germinate, so cover the seeds very lightly. Place several seeds in one jiffy pellet and cull out the weak seedling. Planting several seeds ensures all jiffy pellets will be successful.
Step 3: Spray the surface of each jiffy lightly as well as spray the seed tray lid. You do not require a dome over the seeds to germinate but with the dome it does help keep the jiffy’s moist.
Step 4: Place the newly planted seeds under a single T5 bulb approx 24 inches above the jiffy’s. Make sure your lighting stays on a minimal of 18hrs a day.
Step 5: Over the next 15-25 days, monitor temperatures as germination temperatures should be around 12-15 degrees; therefore, basements are ideal or bedrooms with poor heating at floor level.
Growing opium poppy’s during is easy and requires minimal effort; the hard work is harvesting. Once your poppy’s germinate and sprout place them under a minimal of 4x55watt T5 high out-put bulbs. When you remove your seedling from the seed tray, the poppy will look like a weed or something people think lettuce.
Make sure you transplant your jiffy’s into your 2 gallon containers before placing under the lighting of your choice. Ideally, you should feed your poppies a very low dose of frets at approx 200-300PPM when transitioning to VEG from germination.
Do not over feed your plants as they will become ‘stumped’ which will result in almost no growth. Vegging time is around 6 weeks until the plant is mature enough to begin flowering. As the plant transitions from looking like a wild weed it will start developing a pod and stem. The poppy head will remain bent downward until ready to bloom but the stock will continue to grow tall.
Once the pod starts to flower, the flowering last approx 2-3 weeks. During the short flowering time, the beautiful flower will bloom for approx 1 week. After, the pedals begin to fall, the poppy is now two weeks from harvest. Important note: During the last two weeks, keep the soil dry. Keeping the soil dry will ensure high alkaloids levels. During the last two week’s is when the majority of the alkaloids will increase there percentages; therefore potency.
Harvesting Poppy Milk, Pods & Stems
In my opinion, harvesting the poppy milk is the hardest part of growing poppy’s. Much like wet trimming cannabis, most of the work really begins when harvesting- a total fucking nightmare. Not so much for the closet grower but when trimming lbs of cannabis its a shit job. Harvesting poppy milk is much faster but with some waiting times between scoring the poppy and collecting the milk. Here is a simple step by step guide to harvesting opium poppy milk.
Step 1: Identify the pods that are ripe; start counting two weeks after pedals have fallen. Just as important is the poppy crown, it must stand erect. The poppy texture will harden too. Not all the poppy’s will ripen at the same time; therefor inspect your pods regularly.
Generally, the large pods that loose their green ripe look, as well as, develop a raised crown on the top should be ready for harvest. You can test your pod by ‘scoring’ the pod very gently; if the milk is white and fairly thick like blood than the pod is ready to harvest. If the milk is clear and runny; in which, the milk drips off the pod when bleeding it should not be harvested yet.
Step 2: With a razor blade, make small incisions approx 1-2 inches around the pod. Poppy’s can be scored several times before removed and dried for tea. When you score your pods, make sure you wait 6-8 hours to harvest the milk; you want your milk to be gummy for easier collection. You can use anything to collect your milk, most people use tools around the house such as a spatula.
Step 3: Once collected, allow your milk to dry at room temperature. Rendering your harvest is not required unless for purity or heroin production. Continue to inspect your poppy’s by making a test incision. Generally you can score your poppy’s several times. Once the pod is no longer producing milk, remove the pod and 6 inches of the stem below. Keep the pod and stem together to dry.
Step 4: Simply air dry your pods and stems for several weeks much like you would cannabis. You do not want to apply any heat but rather control air movement and humidity. Try to keep your RH below 30% with a fan in the room. Once the pods are dry and the seeds make a rattling noise when shaken, you can remove the seeds from the pods and pods from the stems if desired. Using the stems solely for a tea will be weaker than mixing pods but be very careful when making tea, there is no way to tell the strength by batch. Now store your seeds and pods in a safe place, please keep out of children’s reach. Do not store your pods/seeds in your grow room.
I hope I have inspired you to consider growing your own opium poppy’s. Growing opium poppy’s is rewarding and allows you to regain some control back in your life with medication. Many people around the world use opium and coca leaf on a regular day; this allows them to work in the fields and ensure a good nights rest.
Many people do not retire young and must continue contributing to their family; therefor, continue to work into their 70’s. The coca leaf and opium has allowed them to work and enjoy life! Only when people abuse the natural ingredients and create heroin and cocaine does major addiction and drug abuse begin. Pharmaceuticals also play another huge roll in addition which I will not talk about at the moment.