Flat brooms are not only pretty to look at in the garden, almost all parts can also be consumed. Learn how to plant flat peas yourself.© eW-Foto - Fotolia.com If you want to plant and harvest your own peas in order to enjoy the delicious legumes as a side dish with various dishes, you can do this with the flat pea. The fast growing plant, which will soon take up a lot of space, offers some surprising features that not everyone knows about - and also enables a rich harvest, which can make a visit to the supermarket unnecessary. But how is the flat pea planted? And what do you need to know about them?
Flat pea - what do you need to know?
The flat pea (Lathyrus vernus) is a climbing plant that usually bears legumes at the end of summer. These grow up to five centimeters long and have several seeds inside them, i.e. peas. But what many people do not know is that not only the pods and peas inside are edible and taste good, but also the young shoots and flowers of the climbing plant. Both taste slightly sweet and very juicy, so that they also like to play a role in the preparation of dishes. The flat pea is often used as animal feed because it is very easy to grow in large quantities and is very cheap, among other things. The seeds can also be processed into flour, which is why the pea is also an interesting plant.
What you should know about the flat pea is that it can also be poisonous. This is due to the active ingredient lathyrin, which - consumed in large quantities - can cause discomfort. This is not highly toxic and therefore very harmful, but eating masses of flat peas daily can lead to some health problems. For example, diarrhea or vomiting often occurs, but cramps can also appear, as can sweating. If you want to avoid this, you should only consume the flat pea in moderation as a side dish.
Planting flat pea - where and how?
If you want to plant the climbing plant, you can use an appropriately sized bucket for this, or use it in a growing bed on the windowsill.
❏ Cultivation in a bucket
If you use the first option, you can sow the seeds of the flat pea directly into the freshly planted potting soil and water it slightly. Spring is ideal for this, the bucket is allowed to stand outdoors. If you want to stimulate the germination more, you can put a cling film over the bucket so that the seedlings sprout faster. If this option is used, it is important to change the cling film regularly and to let the seedlings breathe in the fresh air to avoid rotting and excessive moisture. As soon as the seedlings try to tend (mostly the young flat peas tend to tend to one another so that it becomes difficult to unravel them), you should give them a climbing aid in the bucket, unless they are to be transplanted.
Several sticks as climbing aids, which are simply put into the ground, are good and cost nothing if you collect them in the garden. Fine-mesh wire fences can also be used as a climbing aid. The flat pea usually grows very quickly, so harvest can be expected at the end of summer and continue in autumn - but it's often worth shortening the tips of the plants so that they grow denser and act like a single plant.
❏ Outdoor cultivation
On the other hand, if you sow the seeds directly in a growing bed, you have to prick the seedlings after growing and either plant them in the garden. For this, they should have a size of at least ten centimeters. Sowing can also take place in spring if you want to grow the seeds outdoors - but if you start indoors, you can start in winter and save some time. The seedlings are of course always to be kept moist and thrive very well in sunny but not too hot places before they go outside. As soon as they are in the garden, they should be given permeable soil and plenty of space - because the flat peas spread quite strongly when new shoots are developed and also start to tend. In this case, the flat pea also needs a climbing aid so that it can grow up and not collapse into itself.
The location when planting should be sunny in any case, but also dry and well-ventilated as possible so that the flat pea is not attacked by fungi. This is usually the case when the moisture around the flat pea is too high. As a rule, many flat pea species die after one year, others are perennial and continue to grow successfully after winter. So if you want to get a perennial plant to save yourself planting year after year, you should get enough information from the seller beforehand.
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