29-year-old Alessandro Vitale has been growing chili peppers and mint on his windowsill for years and was thrilled when he moved into an apartment with a communal garden last year.
He got to work, turning half of the 8 x 5 m terrace into a growing harbor, creating a wall grille for herbs from recycled water bottles and installing planters and a greenhouse.
In his first harvest that year, Alessandro managed to produce an impressive amount of 30 different vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, garlic, fennel, leek, cauliflower and broccoli.
Alessandro ate an impressive 35 kg of tomatoes from just six plants and picked 10 kg of 17 different types of chilli.
Alessandro’s plants are 100% organic and use wild nettle from a park for pest control and home-grown aloe vera to make fertilizer.
He has produced enough vegetables from the spot outside his home that he has not bought a single fruit or vegetable in the supermarket since the lockdown began in March.
And thanks to his Italian grandmother’s secret recipes, he turned a lot of it into delicious pasta sauces to accompany him through the winter – in addition to vegetables, he also sorts.
Tattoo artist Alessandro from Walthamstow, north London said, “I’ve had a really good season. I actually managed to harvest celery for the first time.
“When I was a kid, I used to help my grandpa in the garden. I remember importing chili seeds from all over the world and having tons of plants.
“I couldn’t even get close when they were being harvested as tears ran down my face.
“But since then this love for nature and the garden has grown and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed as a hobby.
“When I moved into this property with my girlfriend, I was so excited to actually have outdoor space and immediately made the most of it.
“I use every vertical space available indoors or outdoors to grow plants with old water bottles.
“I work full-time 45 hours a week, but once I’m home I spend a few hours tending the garden.
“I prefer to make jam and sauces from the chillies.
“I managed to harvest 35 kg of tomatoes from just six plants in the summer. I used my grandmother’s recipes to make sauces.
“I haven’t had to buy tomatoes or chilies from the local market since moving to this property.
“It was a bit of trial and error with the others, but I ended up with so much that I actually gave things away for free to my friends and neighbors.
“I put a sign in front of my house saying they are free. It seemed like a nice surprise for them as I can get different types of seeds from the internet. So they are probably products that they do.” have never used it before.
“To me, being organic is really important. I did my own biological pest control.
“My main goal is to help people create as much green space as possible because the soil can absorb carbon from the air and reduce carbon emissions.
“Urban backyards and green spaces help reduce CO2 emissions in cities, making the air cleaner and healthier for residents.
“It’s also a great boost to mental health and happiness.”
After moving to the UK from Italy six years ago, Alessandro has been growing chillies and herbs on the side windows of bedrooms and kitchens for the past few years.
When he moved into his apartment in Walthamstow, north London last year, he was eventually blessed with an outdoor area and determined to make the most of the space.
With the permission of the neighbors who share the room, he put the recycled water bottles for his herbs on a wall grille.
He set up his own greenhouse to grow vegetables such as spring onions, peppers and broad beans.
Alessandro grows twelve different types of mint, including pineapple, banana and strawberry, to make kombutcha – a fermented type of tea.
He now runs his own YouTube channel, SpicyMoustache, where he shares tips on urban gardening and encourages others to create urban green spaces in the UK.