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Sweet-roll seeds stem from the opium poppy

BY KEITH STANGLER

Q. We had some Oriental poppy plants in our perennial garden and my mother says that the seeds can be used in making sweet rolls. Does poppy seed really come from Oriental poppy?

A. Oriental poppy, Papaver orientale, is the large-flowered ornament species. The opium poppy, P. somniferum is the source of poppy seed for sweet rolls (they contain no opium). Opium comes from the milky juice oozed from cuts made in the fruits of P. somniferum.

Q. We tried drying basil leaves last fall. After drying, we put them in a glass jar. They all got white fuzzy growth on them and we threw them away. What did we do wrong?

A. Your basil leaves were not dried sufficiently. Before the plant flowers, cut the stems 4 to 5 inches long. Tie branches together and rinse with cold water, shake dry and hang in a well-ventilated room to dry. They should be very brittle and dry in a few weeks. Store in an air-tight jar. These leaves can be frozen, too. After rinsing, dry enough so beads of water have disappeared, and place on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, store in a jaw or freezer container and use as needed.

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Q. We have pigeons that roost under our overhangs. We grow tired of their cooing and using our feeders. How can we discourage them?

A. Try applying a product called Tree Tanglefoot to these roosting sites. It is very sticky, and I think the pigeons will dislike it and decide to roost elsewhere.

Keith Stangler of Byron is a horticulturist. If you have a question for him, call Post-Bulletin Special Sections Editor Jerry Reising at 285-7739 or 1-800-562-1758.

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