Photo courtesy of Paleontour's photostream
Finally the Ice Men have passed, and it should be safe to put out my tomatoes.
Who are the Ice Men? Tradition in the Appalachians says the last cold spell is Blackberry Winter, but according to The Farmer's Almanac, in Northern Europe they celebrate three feast days, May 11, 12 and 13, as The Ice Men, or The Three Chilly Saints, and they know to watch for a late frost at this time.
Those Three Chilly Saints are St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius. "In some regions, the lore goes on to note that rain will fall on feast of St. Sophia, marking the beginning of planting season. For this reason, May 15 is referred to as “Zimna Zośka,” or “Cold Sophia” in Poland."
Whatever this time is called, I know from experience not to put out tender vegetable plants until after May 15 here in the mountains. Additionally, it is still the dark of the moon and good planting time doesn't start until May 16 this year. Isn't that convenient?