By Johannes Malinowski
Nettles, yarrow, ground elder: for many, these are weeds that have no place in the garden. For Uwe Marschke (42) these herbs are anything but “un”!
The official from Groß Kreutz (Potsdam-Mittelmark) fulfilled his big dream in 2003 and bought a rest farm. Since then he has gradually converted it into his personal summer paradise and put down roots there. There is room for all his hobbies on the 2894 square meter yard.
In addition to his main job, Uwe Marschke has been self-employed since 2011. He sells everything that grows on his property to posh Berlin restaurants.
These are classics like tomatoes and lettuce, but also plants that other people would prefer to banish from their garden. Including nettles, yarrow and wood sorrel.
“Nobody wants that in their garden,” says Marschke. “But an acid extract can be obtained from it.” It is suitable for fish or side dishes that need a sour note.
Bronze fennel grows a little further on. “Nobody knows that, but it is very aromatic and sweet.” The fine plant has a strong anise taste. Lemon verbena thrive in the greenhouse, next door cucumbers, pumpkins, kohlrabi. Marschke: “I want to give each plant a meaning here.”
Once a week he sends his customers a list of the goodies available. “When the order time is up, I go through the garden with a wheelbarrow, a sharp knife and a handful of rubber bands and work off the list.”
It then goes to the customer in the refrigerated transporter. These include restaurants by star chef Tim Raue (48), but also the Rutz Zollhaus (Kreuzberg) or the Bandol sur mer (middle).
In the last 20 years, Uwe Marschke has invested a lot of time and love in his property: “I had a deep desire to realize myself.” On his 23rd birthday in 2003 he bought his new home for 150,000 euros.
The former farm dates back to 1938. A man named Oskar Wolkenstein built it. Marschke named it the Wolkensteiner Hof in his honour. And worked a lot and redesigned paradise.
The paving stones in front of the barn come from the neighboring village: “The sidewalks there were remade, I was allowed to take the stones with me the night before.”
A turtle pond disappeared, as did a few trees. The barn was given a new roller door, and a brick greenhouse based on the English model is currently being built on an earlier one next to the house. “A blacksmith installed the windows for me a few weeks ago,” he says. The glasses are coming soon.
A swimming pond is also planned. In the barn there is room for Marschke’s second hobby: in a corner is his Toyota, with which he takes part in the off-road vehicle trial. “It’s the slowest sport in the world,” says Marschke. The aim is to ski through ten gates with a lot of skill and as few mistakes as possible. Partly steep up and down through mud and moats.
And if there is a lot of time, Uwe Marschke grabs his kayak and paddles up to the nearby Havel.
“I’m my own boss here, I have no superiors and I don’t have to justify myself,” he says. “Buying the farm back then was the best decision of my life.”
Incidentally, Uwe Marschke does not have a farm shop. Anyone interested in their products can find all the information under wolkensteiner-hof.de
Ten wheelbarrows and three concrete mixers in 21 years
► My paradise historically: Today’s Wolkensteiner Hof was built in 1938 by Oskar Wolkenstein. His father is said to have been a Jewish diamond dealer. The house was rented in GDR times. Wolkenstein’s youngest daughter sold the area to Uwe Marschke in 2003.
► This is how I got my paradise: For a long time, Uwe Marschke had a deep desire to realize himself. “At some point I was made aware that the property was being advertised by the savings bank.” There were a few other interested parties, but Marschke was awarded the contract.
► how much space is The lot is 2894 square meters. There is also about one hectare of farmland.
► What was the pleasure? Uwe Marschke bought the property with his housing stock in 2003 for 150,000 euros. “Besides that, I haven’t invested a lot of money. Here’s a sack of cement and there’s some gravel for bricklaying.” In 20 years, ten wheelbarrows and three cement mixers have been worn out.
► What is the greatest happiness here? “I’m my own boss here, I have no superiors and I don’t have to justify myself. I hammer the nails into the wall the way I want it,” says Marschke.
► And in the winter? Uwe Marschke prepares the plants for the coming season.