Carrot-planting hints

Horticultural enthusiasts have been given advice on sowing carrot seeds from allotment expert Caroline Foley.

Writing in the her Guardian blog, Ms Foley explains that once the temperature of the soil reaches seven degrees C then the seeds can be sown under cloches.

As such, she recommends the purchase of a soil thermometer for gardeners who wish to make the most of early and late crops.

Ms Foley gives a tip on how to get straight roots on seedlings, explaining that funnel-shaped holes should be made with an iron bar and then filled with the ideal compost for whatever is being planted before sowing the seeds.

In the case of carrots, this should be a fertile, sandy mix, she notes.

The BBC recommends that when the seeds have germinated and begin to show their first leaves they should be thinned so that there is a five cm gap between plants.