Just as you put on a coat or hat to keep off the weather or troublesome insects, plants need extra layers when conditions turn tough.
Place clear polythene sheets or cloches over the soil in early spring a few weeks before sowing to warm it and speed up germination. Seedlings grow without a check under polythene cloches, though remove covers once the plants are big and sturdy. In autumn, late sowings under cloches keep you picking through winter. Sow chard, beetroot and winter salads under polythene in September to crop till spring.
Netting fends off pigeons and cabbage white butterflies from vulnerable cabbages or broccoli. The finer weave of insect-proof mesh, also available in our garden centre, keeps out even aphids and mealybugs.
Keep horticultural fleece handy for emergencies: when late frosts threaten, throw a double layer over emerging new potato foliage to prevent damage. And coax exotic palms, bananas or tree ferns through winter by packing them with straw and swaddling in layers of fleece.
Please ask the staff in our Leyburn garden centre for more information and advice about plant protection and how it can help in your garden.