Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Jack Frost Returns



I knew the unusually warm weather we’ve had this Spring would be interrupted by at least a few more visits from Jack Frost. I also knew his visit would damage our tender plants that are way ahead of their growing schedule. As I drove the girls to school this Thursday morning, I seen Jack’s calling card on the trees, houses, and cars along the way.

In years past-I tried to cover up everything I could with buckets or sheets to protect it. But I didn’t even try this time. My Blueberries-and Apple trees are too big to cover. The spring veggies I have growing in the garden can stand a little frost-and somehow I don’t worry about my flowers like I used too. My tomatoes and peppers are still safe and warm in the greenhouse.

I did feel guilty about not covering the grapevine-and as you can see from the photo the cold burnt all the leaves on it. I felt some better today when Pap said Granny covered her grapes and they still got bit.

According to the tv station WLOS Apple orchards across western NC were hurt too:

In some orchards many of the blossoms have turned a dirty beige color, and the skin of the baby apples is easily pulled free of the core. That means ice formed between the skin and the apple, resulting in dead or damaged fruit. Growers nearby report temperatures ranging between 24 and 28 degrees last night, and that big freeze held for several hours, increasing the amount of frost. Apple farmers won’t know how much damage was done until next week because the results of the freeze take time to show up.

We’re under another freeze warning tonight-I’m just hoping it’ll miss some of my Blueberries-but it looks doubtful.

Did Jack Frost come back to bite your stuff too?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    susie swanson
    April 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I fear there won’t be much fruit this year.. A lot of folks said it got their grapes and apple trees.. I covered a few things but I knew it was useless.. We’ve only got potatoes planted and They were barely up.. I knew it was to early for stuff to come up..

  • Reply
    April 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    We got a nip of frost here too – just a bit that covered the roof of the car but little else. It didn’t hurt any of our flowers that we can tell. I gave up covering them all years ago when I come to realize that whether I understand it or not, God KNOWS what He’s doing. Only the strong survive in this world anyway.
    As for our vegies and stuff, we NEVER plant anything outdoors until May 1. We started that a few years back at the WRAL weatherman’s suggestion, and it works well for us.
    God bless.
    <>< 1

  • Reply
    April 14, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Interesting to see you are experiencing unseasonal temperature fluctuations as we are too in the UK. Three weeks ago hotter than some summers, two weeks ago nearly a foot of snow, warm again and now frosts. Apples and cherries coming into blossom now are sure to be suffering. We now have rain which is much needed as much of the country is now officially in drought!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I hope you all don’t get too much damage. Winter is over here in FL, but I do miss the frosty weather now and again.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I hope the frost doesn’t kill your plants! We ususally have an Easter snap with cool weather, but this year it has been so warm. It was 66 degrees here this morning at 5:00 A.M. and now it is around 85 degrees. This was one of the warmest winters that I can remember. Usually the fruit trees bloom early and the frost winds up getting a lot of the fruit. The roses are blooming and so beautiful this year!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    He hasn’t been our way ~ yet! We are cooler though, and I’ve had a fire in the furnace the last couple of days. Who cares if my chimney is the only one with smoke coming out of it? Makes me feel better anyway.
    Maybe the frost was just enough to thin the fruits; we’ll hope!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    here in northeast mississippi we have been blooming and popping out all over since february…and yep night before last we had that last visit from jack frost that tried to blow in from the northwest. we brought the tomato and bell pepper seedlings and the tobacco seedlings indoors-but did not cover or worry about anything else. next morning everything was just fine..seems like everything kinda needed a little chill cause it was all perked up right well with it. some years we win and some we lose..this year might just be okay 🙂

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Yesterday it looked like a light
    snow around my house. I saw plenty
    here at the shop, thankfully I
    ain’t planted anything yet. When I
    let my lead dog, Topper out this
    morning it didn’t take very long
    before I could hear that music
    a going. Later I looked out behind
    my Jeep and he was laying there
    with a young rabbit, having his

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Jack came by here as well. We have no tender plants. It appears only certain types of apples will be significantly affected around here. The biggest damage will be to the annuals that many people planted far too early.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    April 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Had some frost, but I don’t think we got hurt too bad. My wife calls it Dogwood winter. My big apple tree had already dropped its blooms and the small trees that I had planted didn’t bloom this year. I hope that they bloom next year. My old tree is starting to look it’s age as am I. I don’t have anything in the garden yet.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    April 13, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Where I am, in the foothills, we seem to have been lucky so far. It got close to the freezing mark, perhaps, a bit below, but so far I have not seen any damage. I am thankful!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Jack stopped by here too, darn it! Got our blueberries, chestunts, hydrangea, & hibiscus that we can tell at this point. Not sure about the apple trees, they actually didn’t have any blooms, we only had beautiful leaves, which actually still look ok. We only planted them last spring, so they are quite young and may not have produced yet. But we are still so sad about the loss. I had just been admiring the the budding flower buds a few days ago, and was so excited to see them in their glory this year. And such a shame that we may not have blueberries either, though it does look like a few of the bushes may not have been damaged.
    I am so glad to hear you didn’t bother to cover things, makes me feel better. But the temp here got down to 25.6 Thursday morning, and was below freezing from about 3am, so I figure covering probably would not have done any good! We did have 1 sheet to cover our new raspberry bushes, and they did seem to survive:)
    Let’s hope we don’t find any more damage! But for things that are damaged, I guess we just trim them back and hope for new growth?

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Sure did down here in SC, too. My hydrangea looks pitiful!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    We always hilled up the dirt around our taters-Bill Burnett-when it was supposed to frost. If they did get a little bit bit they would come right back out. A hard freeze is a whole nuther story.
    Potatos would’t grow on Wiggins Creek at all-Bill Burnett-so we planted taters! Arsh taters and sweet taters.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

    The plum is the first fruit tree to bloom and nearly always gets hit with snow or frost. My other fruit trees were loaded this year. Hopefully, I didn’t lose them all. I never plant vegetables until the first of May.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Tipper–I’ll see if this way of responding works, although it hasn’t in the past. I’m a little surprised no one has mentioned the fact that you can offset frost to a goodly degree by washing it off before the sun hits it. That obviously won’t work when the temperature gets much if any below freezing, but it will save plants when there’s frost and the air temperatures are in the 32+ range. I’ve done it many times. You have to get up early and get at it, but a hose and some sprinkling can save a half acre with 10-15 minutes of effort.
    I’ve got 106 maters out and they are lready blooming. Mind you, we are 10-14 days ahead of the mountains here as a rule, and I pushed it this year. I think, having just come in from the garden, that I’m out of the woods. The maters are fine and I see no sign of damage to my 40-50 blueberry plants, which are well past blooming with berries set.
    It was a near thing though. My hunting land on the little farm we own is about 18 miles away, and I spent much of yesterday there working on trails and crying in my grits because my neighbor’s logging activity has put paid to my turkey doings there for the rest of the season. There was a heavy frost there, with the tops of all sorts of stuff browned off by noon, and it looks like almost all my pawpaws were killed.
    Such is the nature of dealing with nature.
    I’d call it blackberry winter here, since they are in full bloom. Up in the mountains it might be dogwood winter or catbird winter, depending on the situation.
    Anyway, sorry for everyone’s losses, and I’ll pick a tiny bone with Bill Burnett. It has been my experience that potatoes, even when sprouts are well out of the ground, will come back from frostbite. Surely your Dad’s did.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

    We’ve had several frosts lately, but yesterday morning we had 27 degrees and freeze! Usually with frost I drag the hose out a sprinkle everything off before the sun hits it. Tried that yesterday and some things perked up, but some things look quite sad. It was looking like a bumper crop with my blueberries and strawberries, and by the looks of things it am just turn out to be a normal crop, which is still ok. My raspberries haven’t started to bloom yet, so they’re safe although some leaves black. It seems right now that this is the end of the cold, frosty, freezing nights, of I hope so anyway!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I’m with you Tipper. I have just let nature take its course. In years past, I would try to cover the small dwarf trees and throw sheets and towels over low lying plants. Then early next morning before the sun hit anything, I would get out early before work with spray water bottles and spray numerous buds and plants. No more! I just lay up like an ole sow, get my cup of coffee, and read The Blind Pig. When summer comes there is still an abundance of flowers and fruit it seems.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Uncle Al-I’ve been hearing whipporwills-so maybe its whipporwill winter: ) I can’t believe you have blackberry blooms-ours aren’t quite there yet.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    April 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

    We have had some frost, too, but don’t bother covering things like we used to. I think plants are hardier than we give them credit for. At least, I hope so!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    April 13, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Frost arrived on this side of the Mountains as well Tipper. I am hopeful the blackberries that had begun to bloom won’t be hit too hard. Can’t tell about the grapes yet. Guess this is a Dogwood winter?

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I don’t want to tell everyone I told you so but I have been telling my friends that have been setting their garden plants the Jack Frost would be back. Seems everyone gets in a hurry to play in the dirt. When my Dad was alive he always had to have his Potatos in the ground by the third week of March, I would tell him that this was to early, I would plant mine around the first of May then help Dad replant his which almost always got killed by Frost. I usually had a better stand than he did but he never changed his ways.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    April 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Here in the Ohio Valley my black shingle roofs all look like they have a dusting of snow it has been like that every morning this week but only thing I have seen so far that was hurt was some weeds along the creek in front of the house.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:32 am

    That dang Jack came to see us too. That is after some high 80’s for temp. He didn’t bite too hard. Two nights at 35.
    I didn’t think about grapes, I will have to look at ours. I covered some the first night and said heck with it the second night.
    Hopefully all survived. At least we still have the tomato plants in the dining room. A green house you say? What a concept!

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    April 13, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Hey, Tipper, I’m with you.
    Some “adventure” gardening took place, but only with cold weather crops (cabbage, broccoli, chard, etc.), so they likely didn’t git bit.
    The warmers (tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc.) are still inside, under the lights.
    As for the dearly departed, they’ll always grow back. That’s one thing you can say about our southern deciduous rainforest, something is always growing, or waiting to grow.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 13, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Tipper, I’m worried about Saleh’s blueberries. They are covered in blooms. You know he has about 20 plants.
    My rhododendrons were not rolled up and dark this morning like they were yesterday so it must be a little warmer this morning.
    The weather will do what the weather will do no matter what the weather man says and no matter what is blooming!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    April 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Sunrise Ridge was not visited by Jack Frost although there was frost in the valley. It was close, 34 degrees here.
    We did cover plants, ‘just in case’.
    Still plenty early to re-plant if we have to.
    The blackberries are blooming, so maybe this will be the last one for this year.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I’m just grateful that I hadn’t planted as yet! I know the temps have been tempting, but have had a lot going on so the garden has been stalled. Was planting this weekend, may wait a bit now, plants are fine where they are for now!
    Hope your blueberries will be okay.. and it’s so sad about the apples, I so look forward to fresh local apples, a great treat for living up here for sure!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 13, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Looks like the silver cloud had a black lining this time. If any of your fruit does survive it ought to be bigger and better than usual. I’m not lucky enough to anything that could have been bit. I have only a half acre altogether and half of that has some good sized oaks trees I’ve been protecting for 20 years. A blind pig would be in hog heaven there.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    April 13, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Isn’t this gardening stuff frustrating. All the hard work and one or two late season visits from Jack wipes it all out…Here in Northern Missouri we are in the same boat. Won’t know the damage for a week or so because it takes that long to show up.

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