Those gardeners of yesteryear would be green with envy at the range of crop protection available to us today. Horticultural fleece that protects against cold snaps and a range of pests is so useful yet inexpensive.
Fleece allows water and air to penetrate, easing water requirements and increasing airflow around the plants. This encourages hardier growth and discourages disease build-up.
To hold it in place they sell special pins that go through the fleece into the ground. This works but does cause a little damage to the material. Holding it down with bricks works but the rough brick often tears the fleece.
I use 2L plastic milk containers as the smooth surface doesn’t tear the fleece. Cut off the top and fill with soil. After a year the plastic degrades so empty the soil out and pop the old containers in the recycling bin.
Fleece can lay flat in wet conditions, making germination difficult. To keep the fleece off fragile seedlings, just put some upturned plant pots under the cover.
When the fleece has served its purpose, take it up on a dry day, fold and store out of direct sunlight, preferably in a bag or box. You should get 5 years life at least this way.
Available from site supporter Harrod Horticultural here