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Growing Sweet Peas and Runner Beans together

Yesterday I bought 3  White Lady runner bean plants, about 25cm tall.  I also have 6 sweet pea plants which are about 15cms.  I wondered about growing them up canes, 2 sweet peas at the bottom of the first cane, then one bean at the bottom of the second, and so on.  But I'm not sure whether to put the canes in a row at an angle to the fence, or in a wigwam.  How far apart should they be, and which method is the easier for picking all those gorgeous flowers and veg?  One other thing, as both flowers and veg need picking very frequently, should I scatter something like Strulch around the area where I will be treading, so as not to leave earth all over the lawn and patio when it's wet?



  • Hi Verdun, I think I want them all in one place, but if I put only one plant per cane I'm going to need 9 canes - is that too many for one wigwam?

  • What should I put in the bottom of the planting holes?  I don't have any homemade compost.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,963

    I've grown sweet peas and runner beans, just as you said, but I always grow 2 beans per cane. The sweet peas don't do that well here, South West France, so I put them on the shadier side because it can be too hot for them in summer. Now I just do beans, but it used to work as you said when I lived in England. I put rotted manure in the bottom. It doesn't have to be homemade compost, you can buy a bag of something water retaining and soil improving like compost or rotted manure. You can do a 9 pole wigwam, I had a neighbour who used to do a 12 pole one, it depends how much room you have.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Hello Busy-Lizzie!  I don't have a lot of room, and really this year I'm just thinking of ways to create some colour and fill up spaces in my new garden for this summer, as a lot of the shrubs and structure plants won't go in till the autumn.  By the way, I'm very pleased with my CGS "willow" painted fence, which you helped me choose. I'm doing it all by hand, so still lots to go.

  • Well actually Verdun I have 6 sweet peas and 3 beans.  But I think I've now worked out what I'm going to do, thanks to all the advice from you lovely people.  I shall be a very happy happycottontail when I'm finally picking flowers and beans!   image

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,963

    Glad you are pleased with the fence. image

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Busy-Lizzie, when i was looking through the Big Map thread I was amazed to see your photo of the Chateau de Hautefort, because we have just booked a gite only 2k from there! The owner is a keen gardener so i am looking forward to seeing what grows well down there!

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,963

    Hello, I've sent you a message.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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