Late autumn is a magical time of year as the plants prepare for winter.
Nature uses this time to sow the seeds that need the vagaries of the winter weather to germinate. One herb that produces seed that needs frost ( stratification) to germinate is Viola odorata, the seeds if left would naturally fall onto the ground where they will germinate in the following spring. You can replicate this yourself , by collecting the seeds, filling a small container with seed compost and watering in well. Sow the seeds thinly on the surface of the compost, then covering with a fine layer of horticultural sand. Label the container, placing it outside so that the seeds can experience the weather. Then in spring, you will be rewarded with baby violas. which when mature will flower and smell like heaven.
Another herb that has seed pods that are also splitting, indicating that it is time to sow, is the Caper, Capparis spinosa. This herb, being Mediterranean, cannot be left outside to withstand the frosts that will soon be besetting us on a regular basis.
Therefore sow the fresh seeds onto the surface of a small previously prepared pot. Cover with a thin layer of standard perlite. Place the container in a well lit, well ventilated, frost free environment. Kitchen windowsill, if it does not get too cold at night, a heated glasshouse or a conservatory. This herb will take two to three years before it flowers when raised from seed. But when it does one will wonder why one eats capers as it deprives us from this most amazing flower.
© Jekka McVicar , Jekka’s Herb Farm, November 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jekka McVicar and Jekka’s Herb Farm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.