Meet the man who isn’t rushing to the grocery store to store, thanks to his little urban backyard garden that has kept him on fruits and vegetables for nine months.
This green-thumbed Italian, who moved to London six years ago, has grown so many vegetables during the confinement that he hasn’t been to the store in eight months.
29-year-old tattoo artist Alessandro Vitale has grown chili peppers and mint on his windowsill for years, so he was delighted when he moved into a shared garden apartment last year.
He went to work transforming half of the 8x5m patio into a grow shelter, created a wall herb trellis from recycled water bottles, and installed planters and a greenhouse.
In his first harvest this year, Alessandro managed to produce an impressive crop of 30 different types of vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, garlic, fennel, leeks, cauliflower and broccoli.
Alessandro dined with an impressive 35kg of tomatoes from just six plants, and has picked 10kg of 17 different types of chili.
Eager to be frugal and environmental, Alessandro’s crops are 100% organic – he uses wild foraged nettle from a park for pest control and homegrown aloe vera to make fertilizer.
Thanks to her Italian grandmother’s secret recipes, she turned many of them into delicious pasta sauces to get through the winter. along with the vegetables, he is also sorting.
Alessandro said: “When I was a child I used to help my grandfather in the garden. I remember importing chili seeds from all over the world and had tons of plants.
“I couldn’t even get close when they were being collected because I had tears rolling down my face.
“But since then this love for nature and gardening has grown and it is something I have always enjoyed as a hobby.
Although Alessandro works 45 hours a week full time, as soon as he is home he spends a couple of hours tending the garden. “What I like to make the most is jam and chilli sauces,” he says.
He now has his own YouTube channel. Spicy Mustache, sharing tips on urban gardening and encouraging others to create urban green spaces.
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