A Quarterly Publication          March 2010           www.dausettrails.com


Corn, Beans and Squash- "Three Sisters"



    
Native Americans have used a planting technique for hundreds of years called "Three Sisters". The Iroquois first developed the "Three Sisters" technique believing that corn, beans, and squash are three sisters who only grow and thrive together.

Corn, beans and squash can benefit each other when grown together. The corn grows tall providing support for the beans. The beans add nitrogen to the soil providing nutrients for the corn. Beans also have bacteria on their roots that help the plant absorb nitrogen from the air. Nitrogen from the bean plant will help the corn grow. The squash leaves provide cover to keep the area moist and hinder weeds.

To grow your own "Three Sisters", create a mound about 1 foot high and 1 to 3 feet in diameter. Plant the corn first using 4 - 7 seeds about 6 inches apart in the center of the mound. When the corn grows and reaches 1 - 2 feet in height, plant 6 pole beans or climbing beans in a circle 6 inches from the corn. At the same time, plant 4 squash seeds around the edge of the mound.

The "Three Sisters" will grow strong, support each other and yield a bountiful crop. Plant multiple "Three Sisters" on a plot if space allows. Corn will pollinate better in large quantities. Native Americans would also bury fish under the seeds providing fertilizer for the crops.

Native Americans shared the "Three Sisters" technique with the European colonists. These early settlers would have never survived without this technique. Today the "Three Sisters" planting technique is still used and provides a practical way to raise crops using natural resources.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroquois
http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/PROJECTS/MARCH02/mar02-pg1.htm http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html


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