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Three Sisters

Posted Jul 28 2008 8:14pm

My son came home from a field trip and told us that he learned that you are supposed to plant corn, beans, and squash together. Being curious, I Googled it. It turns out that the traditional planting method of many native American groups (I specifically read about the Iriquois) was to plant these three vegetables together. They called them the three sisters.

Most internet accounts describe planting the corn and beans together in mounds and then planting squash near it in a checkerboard pattern. The corn provides something for the beans to climb and the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the corn. The interspersed squash makes a nice ground cover that helps to keep the weeds down.

This year we expanded our garden so we decided to plant 3 rows like this. I probably should have read more before planting because we didn’t do quite what most sites recommended, but it seems to be working so far. We simply planted a corn and a bean seed in the same hole and then a squash plant (or seed) every other hole about 1ft apart. We varied the squash varieties. I’ll post more on the progress as the summer progresses.

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