Gardens in bloom

March 31, 2012

A 2011 Bulldog article noted the beginning of the 2011 growing season as starting on March 31st for most of the neighborhood, a few days earlier for people very close to the lake.

This year the area is enjoying a significantly longer warmer season.

For most of the area the growing season started March 10 with temperatures rising above freezing shortly after 7A. According to Tom Skilling, in a blog post he wrote for WGN TV, that would start the growing season a record 17 days earlier than normal.

As normally happens, there was an earlier end to the freeze near the lake as a Lake View weather station recorded the last freeze on March 5 as the clock neared 2P.

The average growing season in Chicago according to the Old Farmers Almanac is April 20. Although Tom Skilling says it is April 17 along the lake.

Skilling puts the average length of the growing season at 190 days for lakefront areas. The OFA says it is 187 days.

A Bulldog gardening post noted that the area enjoyed 233 days of growing weather in 2011 due to a late frost on November 17. In 2010 the first frost hit the area on November 5.

With the extra days this year, 38 days, the growing season may be more than a month longer than normalРor about 228 days.  However, if the first frost, which normally happens by October 7, according to Skilling, were a to happen again in November, the growing season in 2012 would be an astounding 234 days.

That would be about the same length growing season as the average for parts of Mississippi, about 500 miles south of us.


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