Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell launched a campaign today, on Earth Day, that encourages Angelenos to beautify their neighborhoods by planting poppy seeds in the 13th Council District.
O’Farrell announced the Grow with Mitch program before a group of more than 150 students from Union Avenue Elementary School. The students were visiting downtown LA on a civic field trip to City Hall and the Earth Day celebration at Grand Park.
During the visit, the Councilmember met with the students and surprised each one with a packet of poppy seeds in celebration of the annual Earth Day event. The poppy seed is the official flower of the state of California.
“Earth Day has always been special to me,” said O’Farrell. “I remember when Earth Day started in 1970 when I was in fourth grade just like the students on the field trip today. I wanted to make their visit a lasting, living memory that they can take home to share with their families.”
The seeds were generously donated by school garden expert Mud Baron who runs Muir Ranch in Pasadena. The seeds were then packaged by O’Farrell staffers.
O’Farrell plans to continue the neighborhood beautification program and distribute the seeds as a special recognition to people who do good in the community.
Those who plant the poppy seeds are encouraged to share a photo of the flowers on social media using the hashtag #growwithmitch.
Instructions for planting poppy seeds:
1. Prepare the soil for planting poppies. Select a well-drained spot where the poppies will be exposed to bright sunlight for most of the day.
2. Cultivate the soil with a shovel or fork. Work in 2 to 4 inches of manure or compost if needed.
3. Make a shallow trench in the soil. Sprinkle the poppy seeds evenly in the trench, then cover the seeds with a light dusting of fine soil. Don't bury the seeds: too much soil will block available sunlight and prevent the tiny poppy seeds from germinating.
4. Water the newly-planted poppy seeds after planting. Use a spray nozzle or a watering can to prevent washing away the poppy seeds. Keep the soil lightly moist until the seeds germinate, which should take approximately 10 to 15 days. After the seeds germinate, water the poppies only during hot weather.