Beware of the 3 Czech Ice Kings!

by on March 28th, 2016
Beware of the 3 Czech Ice Kings! Cover Image

2016 03 Spring FlowersLonger days, spring flowers, and sunshine have me in the mood for garden planning. A little voice in the back of my head, though, has been telling me I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and to remember the Three Ice Kings my Grandmother, Mother, and Father have always warned about. I remembered to “Beware of the Ice Kings” but I couldn’t remember the details beyond they had something to do with planting tomatoes (a staple in my garden).

I was talking to a Master Gardener, who also happens to be an ICPL Reference Librarian, and asked if she’d ever heard of the Three Ice Kings. Expert sleuth she is, she found a couple articles including this one from Homegrown Iowan:

“As the story goes, the three kings or saints – Pankrac on May 12, Servac on May 13 and Bonifac on May 14 – were frozen when the temperature dropped while they were fishing at sea. On May 15, St. Zofie came along with a kettle of hot water to thaw out the three frozen kings.

The legend, brought to the United States by Czech immigrants, means that, for Iowans,  it’s a good idea to wait until May 15 to plant your tomatoes, peppers and other tender vegetables and flowers, or at least provide them with some protection in case overnight temperatures drop below freezing.”

My Grandmother is 100% Czech and first generation Iowan from Czech immigrants, so it makes sense she would know about the Ice Kings Legend.

So with a few more weeks to wait before planting, I decided a quick trip to the Library’s New Nonfiction Collection would help with garden planning. The first book I found is Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest by Michael VenderBrug. Not only does this book share a calendar for garden planning, but it also focuses on Midwest gardening issues. I especially liked the section addressing trellising tomatoes.

Foodscaping by Charles Nardozzi gives practical information about introducing edibles into regular landscaping. The pictures are great and I appreciated the information about container gardening.

Mystery writer Diane Mott Davidson’s book, Goldy’s Kitchen, weaves some of my favorite things into one book: Mysteries and Food. The Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe from her book, Fatally Flaky, looks perfect for my future tomato and basil harvest.

While I’m waiting for the Three Ice Kings, it’s nice to know I can find spring gardening inspiration at the Library.

4 Responses to “Beware of the 3 Czech Ice Kings!”

  1. Maeve says:

    Thanks for sharing the lore about the ice kings.

  2. Heidi Kuchta says:

    It is probably best to heed the advice of Czech grandmothers. Even though I am impatient!

  3. Keli says:

    You know what, I’m very much inlenicd to agree.

  4. Carol Peterson says:

    My mother (who would have been 109 this year and bless her heart) along with my sister always mention the 3 Ice kings at this time of year, thus hesitating into planting until after the 15th.

Leave a Reply

Previous Post

Next Post