Man Hasn’t Been to the Grocery Store in 8 Months Thanks to Tiny Pandemic Garden Inspired By Grandfather


Meet the man who isn’t running to the supermarket to stockpile—thanks to his tiny urban patio garden which has kept him in fruit and vegetables for nine months.

This green-thumbed Italian—who moved to London six years ago—has grown so many vegetables during lockdown that he hasn’t been to the grocery store for any in eight months.

29-year-old tattoo artist Alessandro Vitale has grown chilli peppers and mint on his windowsill for years, so he was delighted when he moved into an apartment with a shared garden last year.

He set to work transforming half the 8x5m patio area into a growing haven, created a wall trellis for herbs out of recycled water bottles, and installed planters and a greenhouse.

In his first harvest this year, Alessandro managed to produce an impressive haul of 30 different kinds of vegetable, including cabbage, carrots, garlic, fennel, leeks, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Alessandro dined out on an impressive 35kg of tomatoes from just six plants, and he’s picked 10kg of 17 different types of chilli.

Keen to be frugal and environmental, Alessandro’s crops are 100% organic: He uses foraged wild nettle from a park for pest control, and homegrown aloe vera to make fertilizer.

Thanks to his Italian grandmother’s secret recipes, he’s turned lots of it into delicious pasta sauces to see him through winter, alongside veg he’s sorting too.

Alessandro said: “When I was a kid I used to help my grandpa out in the garden. I remember he would import chilli seeds from all over the world and he would have tonnes of plants.

“I couldn’t even go near when they were being harvested as I would have tears coming down my face.

“But since then this love of nature and gardening grew and it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed as a hobby.

Though Alessandro works full-time 45 hours a week, as soon as he’s home he spends a couple of hours tending to the garden. “My favorite thing to make with is jam and sauces from the chillis,” he says.

He now runs his own YouTube channel SpicyMoustache, sharing urban gardening tips and encouraging others to create urban green spaces.