Planting a Three Sisters Garden
Welcome to an ancient growing method call the ‘three sisters’ consisting of corn, beans and squash. This trio were inter-planted by Native Americans which provide both sustainable soil fertility and a bountiful harvest!
Legend: the plants were a gift form the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together and celebrated together. Not only do these plant complement each other in the garden, they also provide a balanced diet for us too!
– the corn offers support to the pole beans which in turn, tie each stalk together for added stability
– the beans take nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil, feeding the corn and squash, which are heavy nitrogen users
– the large leaves provide a ‘green mulch’ shading the soil, keeping it cool and moist and suppressing weeds
Planting: prepare the soil by adding compost to increase fertility
– mound the soil 12” high and 4’ wide
– after the danger of frost, plant the corn in the mound. Sow six kernels of corn an inch deep, about 10” apart in a circle about 2’ in diameter
– when the corn is 5” – 6” high, plant bean seeds around the corn stalks
– about a week later, plant 6 squash seeds, evenly spaced, around the perimeter of the mound
Tips: it’s important that the upright crop has a 2 – 3 week start in order to offer a good support for the beans
– squash is planted on the outside of the companion garden so that they are not shaded from the corn
Resource: The Old Farmer’s Almanac