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Spring's last frost can't be pinned down

When is the last date on which we can expect frost in the Rogue Valley?

— Toni G., Ashland

Getting eager to get those tomatoes in the ground, Toni? Better wait a bit, especially up there in the hills of Ashland.

The median date for the valley's last spring frost varies more than you might think. According to Master Gardeners, it's April 28 at the Medford airport, but it's May 15 out in Ruch. At the 1,750-foot elevation in Ashland, it's May 9.

But remember, the median is not the same as "the last date on which we can expect frost." The median is the number in the middle of the sample. In other words, half the last frosts occur before that date, and half after it. So anything you plant on May 9 faces a roughly a 50 percent chance of a frosty night coming along.

There are plenty of local variations even for these guideline dates. If you really want to know about your neighborhood's micro climate, talk with somebody who has raised a garden or planted flowers there for a while.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.