Early “Eisheilige”

In Germany and Austria – as well as other parts of Europe – exists a period in May, during which is it very much likely to get a late cold spell and night frosts. In the mountainous regions of my former home in Austria, there was, as a rule, no planting of vegetables or potatoes ahead of this period at all.

This period runs from Mai 11th to May 15th on the feast days of certain Saints, jointly called “Eisheilige”, which means Frost Saints or Ice Saints. For those who like detail: the Saints are Mamertus, Pankratius, Servatius, Bonifatius and Sopia of Rome, also known als Cold Sophia, ending the frosty days.

Alas, climate changes. Also, Berlin is not as harsh as my home, weatherwise. So I do have vegetables out already, with the salads doing fine in their elevated and sheltered spot. And I do confess, that I planted my potatoes early this year, too (this would count as downright crazy back home, so please, don’t tell my Mom) . Meanwhile, the first sprouts are just about to show.

But the Frost Saints did arrive here in Berlin, too. Albeit a little early, this year. During the last few days, it was very cold, with frost overnight. I had to protect my veggies and seedlings with cloth overnight. But today, I hope, the cold spell is finished. The forecast promises +1° C tonight, with increasing temperatures during the week.

So my little garden helper cat Lilly and I did away with the frost covering today and planted some more veggies. The plants still sat waiting inside in their starter trays. I hope, they are survivors. garden lilly


4 thoughts on “Early “Eisheilige”

  1. After 30 years here in Loopyville, I was sure the Eisheiligen were no more than an old wives’ tale (= untrue). But this year, in an unheated house in Carinthia, they came . . . and how!

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  2. Same here, Lyart. Tomatoes and other non-hardies must wait to be planted until after Mother’s Day (this year, that is May 12). Every year, my impatient hubby pays no mind. And every year, the tomato plants get killed by frost and we have to go buy more. I hope your potatoes make it. Lilly looks like a wonderful helper. 🙂

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    1. Oh, Lilly is a great “help”. Tell hubby, my granny used to say (referring to potatoes – there where no tomatoes in the mountains at her day and age): “Plant me in April and I come, when i will, but plant me late in May, I’ll come quick and stay” (that’s a wobbly translation, the original goes “Setz mich im April und ich komm, wann ich will, setz mich im Mai und ich komm glei”)

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