The Three Sisters

Posted by on April 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm.
The Three Sisters

"The Three Sisters"

“The Three Sisters” is a method of companion planting that was used by the Native Americans.  The trio consist of corn, pole beans and either squash or pumkins.  This is a great combination to grow!  We used squash and the corn we used was a strawberry popcorn.  The three sisters each give the others something they need.  The corn (the oldest sister) gives support to the beans.  The beans pull nitrogen from the air and deposit in the soil for the other two to access.  The vining beans also bind the three plants together.  The squash shades the soil and the roots with it’s large leaves creating a living mulch and providing protection.  The squash also has prickly leaves that protect the other two from thieves – like racoons.  And the food from all three provide a balanced diet with complete protiens!

To get the best results, add fish scraps or wood ash to your planting hole as an amendment to improve the soils fertility.  Plant six kernals of corn an inch deep and about 10 inches apart.  Planting them in a circle about 2 feet in diameter adds a nice dimension.  As the corn grows, mound up soil around the base until the mound is about a foot high and three feet wide.  When the corn is about 5 inches tall, plant four bean seeds spaced evenly around the corn.  About six weeks later, plant six  squash seeds evenly spaced around the perimiter of the mound

According to my 2005 Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Iroqouis indians had been planting “the three sisters” for three centuries before the European settlers ever landed.  Now you can plant them too and be a living part of history!


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