Q.After poppies have bloomed in the spring, do you have to wait until the seed pod is totally dry to cut the dead stalks off?
This year we had excessive rain so the poppies grew very tall and now are dried and laying over my garden–some of the seed pods are dried and apparently empty but others are still green–don’t want to lose the seeds—
When poppy seeds are ripe, the top, or cap (carapace), begins to separate from the seedpod. This is when you can harvest seed. Also, when gently shaking the pod, you can hear or feel the seeds rattling in the pod. My experience is the same as yours. By the time the pod turns brown, the seeds have been dispersed. Definitely wait until the leaves turn brown before pulling them if you have a perennial variety. Please read this article: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/poppy/saving-poppy-seeds.htm