By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe
The Need For Vitamins
Labels on bottles of vitamin pills frequently include the note Not intended as a substitute for a balanced diet, heath authorities worldwide now recommend that we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day for their vitamin and mineral contents, others emphasise that these are best if fresh and grown ecologically/organically without the use of chemical fertilizers insecticides fungicides and the Slow Food movement recommends that we should try and eat local produce to sustain the local economy.
Such produce is not always easy to buy or is expensive to buy due to today’s costly oil based long distance distribution systems by air or road and plastic packaging materials. So therefore why not grow your own in containers on apartment terraces, in raised beds in small gardens, in the garden or if convenient an allotment. The great advantages are that you can focus on growing those fruits and vegetables with the greatest beneficial vitamin and mineral contents and harvest each day just what is required for each meal or day.
What can be grown?
Our books Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain and Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain give you almost two hundred fruits and vegetables to grow yourself with instructions for doing so on apartment terraces as well as in cottage style gardens, dedicated vegetable plots and orchards.
Focus on a healthy Mediterranean diet
As we following a traditional Mediterranean Diet we ensure that we grow a good selection of fresh home grown anti-oxidant vitamin/mineral rich foods such as dark green leaves, sprouting broccoli, tomatoes, nasturtium flowers and leaves, garlic, onions, tomatoes, carrots for use in all our meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and when walking the mountains or playing tennis enjoy our own home dried fruit, vegetables and nuts. As for fruit we can harvest something on every day of the year to give seasonal diversity ranging from vitamin C packed mandarins and oranges from now to May and red raspberries from May to November. Having planted a perpetually flowering and fruiting Lunar lemon lemons can be harvested 365 days a year. Next month we can start to harvest olives for home pickling and in a good year our own virgin olive oil.
Growing our own fruit and vegetables under the Spanish sun means plenty of hours in the open air so sun stimulated vitamin D comes as almost a daily bonus only interrupted by rain.
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe October 2008.