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Growing autumn and winter vegetables (part 3) by

Clodagh & Dick Handscombe Practical gardeners and authors

SOME HELPFUL HINTS Creativity for winter salads: The autumn in Spain is a second spring so it is possible to grow a wide range of leaf vegetables suitable for tasty and decorative salads, many of which will survive cold winter spells. These include lettuces; spicy cut and come again leaves; purslane; nasturtiums; dandelions; rocket and Swiss chard. And prior to the frosts, petals from a number of edible flowers can be added. These include roses, perpetual lemons, hibiscus, nasturtiums and pineapple sage. COMPOST HEAP OR MINI COMPOSTER A mini composter on an apartment terrace or a compost heap near the vegetable plot can produce a useful quantity of compost to use in seed compost mixes and for topping up the nutrient content of garden soils and container composts. COMFREY If you have comfrey plants continue to harvest leaves and cover with water in a

barrel to produce a useful natural liquid fertilizer. Also wrap each of the potatoes in a leaf when you plant them. When leaves start to die back for the winter, take a final harvest and add to the compost heap to add nutrients and accelerate the composting process. If you strain or sprain a joint or muscle an overnight comfrey poultice can help accelerate recovery. COLD PROTECTION Most recommended over wintering vegetables will survive heavy frosts but if you experience early frosts cover your potatoes, and continuing tomatoes with plastic early in November. If you are growing vegetables on an apartment terrace, the retained heat from the external walls of the house will give considerable protection. This year we planted some tomatoes on our experimental first floor terrace in February but could not do so until May on our exposed vegetable plot. AIM FOR TASTE AND TEXTURE NOT SIZE In the UK there was often a drive to grow the largest carrots, onions, cabbages etc driven by the desire to win a price in the local horticultural show or to stand out in the harvest festival displays. Naturally if you have a sizeable family the same need arises in Spain but most

Making/ using comfrey fertilizer

readers will be growing for smaller groups and it is wisest to focus on growing the tastiest best textured vegetables possible and if short of space, buying the seeds of miniature varieties from catalogues such as Sutton Seeds and Thompson and Morgan. We are sometimes given giants by villagers but they lack taste. Instead of a crisp new lettuce at each meal one would have large limp leaves for a week. Having looked at the autumn growing of vegetables, we look at autumn fruit issues next week.

BOOK SIGNING 18th SEPTEMBER Gardening columnist Dick Handscombe will be at the Bookworld shop in the Eroski shopping centre near Ondara on Saturday 18th September from 11.00 to 14.00 and 18.00 until 20.00 to answer any gardening questions you may have and autograph copies of their four latest books which will all be on sale. Namely Your Garden in Spain, Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style, Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain and Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain.

Clodagh and Dick Handscombe’s books collate their 25 years of gardening in Spain for your benefit, whether you are new to Spain or after several years in Spain are continuing to struggle with the various regional climates, soils, plants and pests. Several readers have asked for the ISBN numbers so here they are: Your Garden in Spain – From planning to planting and maintenance ISBN 978-84-89954-67-0. Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style, ISBN 978-84-89954-86-1. Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain . ISBN 978-84-89954-62-5. Growing Healthy Vegetables – ISBN 978 – 84-89954-53-3 If your local bookshop does not have them buy via or 952 485 838. © Clodagh and Dick Handscombe September 2009

Infamous Murderers Maniacs Filled with Hatred and Rage

Book Review by

Danny Collins

WHEN IN 2007 I wrote ‘Vanished’, I suggested to my publisher that the shout-line, ‘The Truth About the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’, was a trifle arcane and that I preferred its original description of an in-depth investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old in Portugal. I could write only of my conclusions in the investigation and, although I believed them to be accurate based on the evidence; I saw the shoutline as typical jacket designer’s blurb. Mr Castleden appears to have suffered the same fate. Publishers want to sell books and authors are therefore often’ hoist on a publishing house petard’. Infamous Murderers has little to do with Maniacs Filled with Hatred and Revenge: Lizzie Borden was acquitted of all charges, Crippen simply preferred the charms of Ethel La Neve to those of his nagging, slothful wife and James Hanratty probably felt more enmity towards the hangman than he did towards his supposed victims. True enough, poor old Ruth Ellis was bent on revenge when she shot her two timing lover David Blakely and the lovely Charlotte Corday – my boyhood heroine, but I was a strange boy – certainly hated the blood stained French Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat when she stabbed him in his bath, but all told I found the author’s compilation of murders and skulduggery more interesting in subject matter than the violence of the crimes. Ruth Ellis’s story should tug at the emotional strings of any woman who’s ever been crossed in love and one wonders if the actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln out of political mien or because he’d had to learn the Gettysburg Address for a part by the following Tuesday. I found the book interesting and well researched and I can only wish that the publishers would let the authors describe the contents to their public.

End of Day in the Garden: Alfas Sculpture Gardens

Elderly people and their helpers can visit for free

Infamous Murderers was sent to me as a review copy and it’s likely I wouldn’t have picked it from a rack given the lurid cover – which would have been a shame. Well recommended in any event. Author: Rodney Castleden Publisher: Time Warner (paperback) Price: €9.15 ISBN: 0 7515 3648 2

All the featured books are available off the shelf or by mail order from Librería Europa, Calle Oscar Esplá 2, 03710 Calpe. Tel: 96 583 58 24; e-mail: Take along or send this review for a discount of 5% on your purchases.

UNTIL 1ST October, the Klein-Schreuder Sculpture Gardens in Alfas del Pi is inviting groups of elderly people and their helpers to visit the gardens free of charge as part of a project supported by the CAM bank – ‘Atardecer en el Jardin’ or ‘End of Day in the Garden’. Established in 1998, the gardens were the vision of Johanna Klein-Schreuder and Johannes Klein who wanted to create a sculpture garden; a space to exhibit human and natural creation both to contrast and complement. Interspersed between these natural forms are works of contemporary sculptors,

including Toni Mari’s Love Dance and Man On Stilts. The subject of all the sculptures is man and/or animal. If any groups or elderly would like to take advantage of this invitation before 1st October, contact Johanna on 966 860 230 to make an appointment. The park is normally open to the public on Sundays from 10.00 to 14.00 hours. The entrance fee is €2 per person. Visits can be made by groups at other times by appointment. Further details about the gardens can be found on

RTN South Edition 570  

RTN South Edition 570