Flat peas are beautiful perennials and climbing plants that are relatively easy to care for. However, special attention is paid to the seedlings.© MEISTERFOTO - Fotolia.com
The pea (Lathyrus vernus) is a climbing plant that forms legumes in late summer and whose pods and seeds are edible. The popular pea pods are not the only added value that the flat pea brings with it. The shoots and flowers of the plant can also be eaten without hesitation, and their taste is reminiscent of young, sweet-tasting peas. So that many peas can be harvested and the flat pea in itself thrives, a certain amount of care is an advantage.
When and how is a flat pea planted?
Since most flat peas are annual plants, you have to reapply them annually in order to harvest and eat peas in late summer. If this happens in the bucket, you can start planting by sowing the seeds in spring and do the whole thing outdoors. If you want to start planting beforehand, i.e. in winter, a cold frame should be used to grow the seedlings. In summer both types of germs continue to grow outdoors and are provided with climbing aids so that they gain height and abundance and bear fruit in late summer.Attention However, it is also advisable to eat the flat pea fruits, because a certain active ingredient makes them slightly poisonous, so that they can cause health problems. However, this is only the case if you eat the flat peas in large quantities and more often. Then you have to expect vomiting, abdominal pain and even cramps and other side effects.
Water the flat pea
If the seedlings have just emerged, they must always be kept slightly moist, but not too wet. Too much moisture can lead to fungi, which in turn damage the plant and prevent further growth. If the top layer of soil becomes slightly dry, the best time is to water the pea seedlings moderately again. A sunny but not too hot location is important for the flat pea - this should also be airy so that the moisture can always escape and the flat pea is not rotten or damaged by fungi. If the seedlings or young plants have already been planted in the garden bed and they have been given a climbing aid, they should also be watered moderately - and only if the layer of soil has dried somewhat. On very dry days, of course, drying out can be prevented with a little more water.
Does the flat pea need fertilizer?
As a rule, the flat pea does not need any fertilizer that can be bought in the garden center - in this respect, you can save yourself one or two euros. The nutrients in the potting soil provide the necessary nutrients when the seedlings grow, but when they are placed in the garden, you can - if you want - loosen the soil for planting and enrich it with a little compost. This helps the flat pea to get off to a good start, but is basically not necessary. Especially if the plant is already blooming or even bearing fruit, fertilizer and compost is no longer a must.
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Winter pea overwinter
As already mentioned, many flat pea varieties are annual plants that will pass by the end of autumn after the fruit has been borne. So you don't have to worry about overwintering the plant here. However, if the purchased and exposed seeds are perennial plants, they can be supported during the winter. In this case, the shoots usually wither when the year tends to winter - but the roots are preserved so that new shoots can develop in the next spring. Therefore, you can cover the soil above the roots of the perennial flat pea with a lot of leaves or brushwood to provide the roots with something slightly warming against frost and freezing temperatures.
Do you have to cut flat peas?
The flat pea definitely doesn't need to be cut. However, she can cut her tips back slightly as she grows to ensure that she grows denser and gains more fullness through new shoots. As a rule, this also helps to harvest pods and peas more efficiently, which are not only used as a side dish in dishes, but are often also used to feed cattle or can be processed into flour in the case of seeds. If the flat pea bought is a perennial plant, it can also be pruned after the shoots have gone - in late autumn - to help the plant sprout again next spring and grow faster.
Flat pea care: advantages and disadvantages