My son learned about the Native American’s Three Sisters Garden and wants to try it. The three sisters are corn, beans and squash that work together or in permaculture terms are a guild. Corn as we know has a ridged stalk, but is a heavy feeder of nitrogen. Beans, like other legumes, pulls nitrogen out of the air and “fixes it” or makes it available to other plants in the soil. Beans benefit from having something to climb, like a corn stalk. Squash spreads out at ground level and shades the ground keeping it cool thus reducing moisture loss and making it hard for weeds to grow. Squash also benefits from the nitrogen the beans make available in the soil. Native American’s would often bury a fish with each planting group to improve soil fertility, we’re not going to do that but may add a little compost.
Our plan is to plant the corn first in a fairly tight circle. We will try groupings of 6 and 12 corn plants. Once the corn sprouts we will add a bean seed right next to the the corn sprout and then maybe 3 or 4 squash seeds further out. We will take some pictures to document our “experiment” and post to this page.
Last year my dad planted a stand of corn in this area that the dear thoroughly enjoyed, we’ll see if the prickly squash leaves deter them enough so we can enjoy some of the corn.