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Growing Runner Beans

Runner beans grow best in rich, fertile soil, so prepare your site by digging in plenty of organic matter at least two weeks before planting. Plant scented flowers, such as sweet peas, nearby to attract pollinating insects to the garden.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

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Runner Bean Vines Climb Cane Wigwam Frames

Step 1: Build Support for the Beans

Support is vital for these climbing plants. Build a wigwam from eight canes, ideally at least 7 ft (2.2 m) long, pushed firmly into the soil about 12 in (30 cm) apart, in a circle. Tie the canes securely at the top and again halfway down.

Build Cane Wigwams to Support Runner Beans

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 2: Plant the Seeds

late spring, when the soil is at least 54 degrees F (12 degrees C), plant two seeds at a depth of 2 in (5 cm) by each cane and water thoroughly. In cold areas or where the soil is heavy, sow the seeds in deep pots indoors in mid-spring.

Plant Bean Seeds by Each Cane of Wigwam

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 3: Train the Plants to Grow Upward

After germination, remove the weaker seedling. Twist the remaining plant around its cane and tie it in with twine. A companion sweet pea plant will attract insects to the runner bean flowers, promoting a good crop.

Twist Strongest Seedling Around Cane and Tie

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 4: Pick the Beans Regularly

It is important to pick runner beans regularly (at least twice a week), when they are young and tender, because overly mature pods are less appetizing and suppress the formation of new flowers.

Pick Young and Tender Runner Beans Twice a Week

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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