Ask Alys; your gardening questions answered

I plan to replace our lawn with a wildflower meadow and a veg plot. Should I lift the turf on the meadow area and lay it upside down to rot on the veg patch?

The lawn is dead. Long live the meadow. There is nothing more boring than the tyranny of the mower. Still, making a meadow is no walk in the park: you will have to resow every year and do some weeding.

Removing the turf will impoverish the soil, but not necessarily enough for a native wildflower meadow. So remove more soil or go the Olympic route: the brains behind the wonderful wild plantings at the Olympic site have developed Pictorial Meadows, wildlife-friendly meadows with flowers selected to bloom all summer; some are native, some not. Or try RootGrow’s mini meadow mix, which includes mycorrhizal fungi and soil conditioner.

Once you’ve lifted the turf, lay it or stack it upside down to allow it to rot down, eventually creating topsoil to use later on. If you put it direct on the veg bed, you will need to put compost on top, because it will be some time until it’s friable enough to plant into.

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