None of the plume poppy seeds I started indoors at the beginning of March have germinated, so I decided to try again, taking the easy route this time.
Winter sowing is a method you can use for seeds of perennials and frost-tolerant annuals. It is especially handy for seeds that require some frost cycles to break their hard seed shells. Any seeds whose planting instructions say they can be direct sown in late fall or early spring are good candidates for winter sowing. Anything that requires warm soil temperatures to germinate is not a good candidate.
This is the first time I've actually tried it, but it seems like a piece of cake, and very low maintenance, which is important now that it seems I am starting more and more seeds each year. So you just cut a milk jug (or other plastic container) in half, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, put 3-4 inches of soil in and water, drop in your seeds, and duct tape the top back on. Leave the lid off for ventilation. Voila! You've just made a little mini-greenhouse for your seeds to grow in! Put it outside in a sheltered spot and let nature do its work.
People who've used this method before say that plants they have wintersown will bloom only slightly later than plants that were started indoors, but much earlier than ones that were sown directly into the garden.