Tribune Recorder Leader
A young 93, Melvin Block of Minden City, has been growing poppies for approximately 25 years.
A friend of Melvin’s from Texas gave him some poppy seeds, which grow wild alongside the highways there. His wife, Joyce, always loved the color red, and from that point on, he has been harvesting seeds and replanting them.
The poppy blooms in June, and once they are done blooming, the poppy heads dry up. Melvin shakes the seeds into a bucket, saving it to replant. He sprays the area for weeds, and rototills the ground, preparing it for the seed. He takes the harvested seeds, spreading them onto the soil in August, alongside the seeds that were also dropped from the old poppies. They will grow 2-3 inches in the fall and then go dormant for the winter. In the spring, they continue to grow. Melvin also plants some in the spring, but they don’t grow as tall because of less growing time.
Melvin has always enjoyed the poppies, starting with just a small patch, and over the years, the patch has grown bigger and bigger.
The Block family owned a lot in Minden City, which used to be the Ford dealership years ago. Before selling it in 2014, Melvin planted poppies in the vacant lot, and everyone driving by would enjoy the colorful display of them. Wedding pictures were even done in the field.
Although the poppy patch is almost done for this summer, it will surely be there next year, just east of Ruth Road on Bay City Forestville Road.
Melvin and his wife, Joyce, had three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.