Hello all, brand new here!

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Alan 10 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    Hello all!

    I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

    I am an absolute novice gardener, my skills are as extensive as mowing the lawn and for the last few years, i grew a few veggies in the backyard of my old place in Australia but the success varied and to be honest, i had no idea what i was doing, i think i was very lucky due to the massive amount of sun we get there.

    I have now moved to Germany into an old farmhouse that sits on a 1500m2 block. It has a massive backyard that is very very overgrown (grass and weeds up to about 1.0m).

    I would love to grow vegetables and turn this large area into a nice productive space, not only to have great resources of food but also as a form of meditation/stress relaxation!

    So, thanks Charles for all of your wonderful material! I plan on making one of your classes next time i pop across the channel.

    So, a few questions if i may?

    1. I’m starting with clearing the grass and taking the excess to a pile and beginning a compost. Its mostly all grass, im wondering if this will work? I have some paper and cardboard leftover from the move but i’ll use the cardboard boxes for paths, this means there is very little ‘brown’ in my compost. As i understand, it will still compost, it will just take longer or do i need to actively find a way to balance it out a bit more?

    2. The grass that is there is very thick in places with large crown clumps everywhere…. I have no idea what are perennial or annual weeds…(in fact, i have no idea what plants are what unless its a tomato, cucumber or capsicum). My plan is to just mow the grass, compost the clippings, get a large load of compost delivered and then spread the compost onto the ground (undisturbed apart from maybe larger/woodier weed roots). Then i was going to try to find black polythene (struggling in Germany, language barrier) and lay that over the compost to begin the long mulch over winter. I plan to only plant in the coming spring.

    3. I would also like to make a lawn out of the ground nearest to my house. Same story though, the ground was so overgrown with large woody weeds and grass clumps that now the ground is so very lumpy, i would like smooth green grass like at homeacres but I cant see how i can have a level lawn without maybe rotorvating… Is rotovating THEN muching using plastic or an organic style mulch an option? Any suggestions for this?

    Sourcing the required stuff like polythene, mulch and compost takes so much longer for me because of my terrible German, i try but it will be some time before i can navigate the online world freely like i did back in Oz!

    Sorry for the very long post and possibly stupid questions guys. As i said, I’m an absolute novice with big dreams and an even bigger piece of land to play with! I hope that someone can help impart some wisdom on me and help a noob begin a great garden in the northern hemisphere.

    Thanks to everyone for all the great info here, its a great source.




    Alan welcome.
    Quick answers
    1 Yes you need to add paper, twigs, old leaves to balance the soggy green grass
    2 All sounds good. Mow the large crowns of grass tight to the ground so mulches sit level over them.
    3 Homeacres grass was like that 5 years ago, and constant mowing has resulted in what you see, with for example white clover that was not there at all. You could speed up that process by scattering lawn grass seed and a little compost in the hollows.


    Vivian G

    Hi Alan!
    Welcome to gardening and welcome to Germany, too! Where abouts are you? I live in the Forest of Oden (Odenwald) between Frankfurt and Heidelberg and run a market garden there. So any language problems can be solved!
    Black polythene can be sourced as “Silofolie” (black or green on the one side and white on the other) in Germany, compost is “Kompost”, green waste compost is “Grüngutkompost” or “Grünschnittkompost” and mulch is “Mulch”.
    And you can deem yourself lucky, because in Germany composting green and household waste is the standard, so the chance of finding somewere to buy in compost close by and relatively cheaply is quite good.



    Hi Vivan!

    Awesome many thanks for that!

    I live in a village called Kerpen (Eifel, not next to Cologne). It’s a wonderful place and i’m so very happy!

    This is great news re Kompost. I especially thankyou for the silofoile!! Man have i been racking my brain on that one. My deutsch is functional but any kind of specialist technical terms and i’m stumped!

    Many thanks again Vivian!!




    Hi Alan,

    welcome to Germany and good luck with your project. I have a big vegetable garden near Cologne, I am using no dig and follow Charles advice in this website and have some of his books also. Regarding the polythene you can get good quality of “Silofolie” usually in the Raiffeisenmarkt (supplies for farms and gardens). They cut also to the size you need. The polythene sold sometimes in “Do it yourself” markets is not opaque and lets some light pass so the weeds and perennials will not die off.
    The good quality polythene is covered also from the inside.
    I checked for you it seems the nearest Raiffeisenmarkt is :


    Good luck



    Udo!! You legend!!

    That is EXACTLY what i’m after. Thank you so very much, such a great help danke!

    Also, on the subjuct of mulches and kompost, is there a similar place to find these? Also, what should i be paying as a maximum do you think? I would just like to be ready to make sure i dont get taken for a ride!

    Thanks again guys for the help!




    Good morning Alan,

    if you want to buy Green Compost you should check with the company that is collecting the garden waste in your region. Could be that it you will have drive some distance to get there. It might be easier to get manure from Cow or Horsefarms nearby. Ask the farmers to confirm that they did not spray their land with aminopyralid becuase it will kill or damage a lot of the vegetable plants next year. Commercial name of aminopyralid is Simplex.
    You may also check with the your neighbours or the “Raiffeisenmarkt” where to get good compost.



    Hi again Udo,

    Great thanks again for the information mate!

    When i get back home, ill be straight onto it.


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