Dear Tom,
From last spring to first fall freeze, what have been Chicago’s longest and shortest growing seasons?
Judy F., Wilmette

Dear Judy,
The typical growing season across the Chicago area can vary by nearly a month, ranging from about 160 days in areas well west and north of the city to 180 to 185 days in the heart of the city and lakeside locations. Using the city’s official station data dating to 1871, Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski determined the city’s longest growing season spanning 235 days, occurred in 1931 from March 31 through Nov. 24. In stark contrast, the city’s shortest growing season was just 142 days, May 12 through Oct. 2, 1981, a difference of 93 days which equates to three months.