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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.
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.
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.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007