May showers could spell trouble for DC gardens

WASHINGTON — Wednesday marked the 15th consecutive day of rain in the D.C. area. And while a little water never hurts, this month has brought in too much rain.

And it’s only eleven days into May.

“We have turned into a tropical rain forest,” said WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath. “We had a little bit of a drought a while back, but this is way too much and way too constant. The plants haven’t had a chance to dry out between rains, which is crucially important to their long-term health.”

With all this moisture, it’s best to watch your newly planted vegetables.

“If they’re cool season crops, they’re probably going to survive it,” McGrath said. “If you put peppers or tomatoes in the ground against my advice, you’re finding out a second reason now in that they’re probably really suffering from the excess of water.”

And if they’ve been very recently planted, McGrath advises that they get taken out of the ground and quickly put into pots to protect them from the next run of rains.

As for grass, don’t get too upset if some of the seeds have washed away.

“We don’t recommend planting cool season grass seed in the spring to begin with because, you know, as soon as these rains are over, it’s going to shoot up to 90 degrees everyday and the young, cool season grass can’t survive that kind of transition,” he said.

“Save your grass seed until Aug. 15, plant it then and you’ll have a bulletproof lawn for decades to come.”

And whatever you do, don’t cut the grass when it’s wet.

November 29, 2020 | WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath talks how recent, constant rain affects your garden (Bruce Alan)

WTOP’s Bruce Alan contributed to this report.

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