The Three Sisters is based on a Native American farming technique. The techniques vary but what remains constant is the tradition of planting Corn, Beans and Squash together. The corn is planted first, followed by the beans and squash in a few weeks. The corn provides a stalk for the beans to grow up on, while the beans provide nitrogen to the corn and squash, and the squash provides a protective border and some shade for the roots and helps to retain moisture.
We combine our Butternut Squash, Golden Bantam Corn, and a Pole Bean. Play around with any combination you like.
Firefly Farm & Mercantile may substitute based on seed varieties in stock or on your growing region. We are happy to customize so please give us a call.
Instructions - There are many ways you can do plant a traditional three sisters garden. One method is to plant a plot of corn in a square and then plant the beans on the outer square, while the squash is then planted around the beans.
More Detailed Instructions:
The Three Sister Gardening collection uses a Native American food production technique called the Three Sisters. It uses Corn, Beans and Squash together in a food production plot. The corn provides support for the beans, the beans provide nitrogen to the corn, and the squash forms a perimeter around the corn and beans helping to protect it.
Depending on your bean types you will want to think how you grow the Three Sisters. Enclosed in our collection is a fresh eating Green Bean type of Bean. If you are growing dried beans, you can plant a little differently as we will discuss. Let’s get started.
- The ground is warmed up so it’s time to plant your corn. Your corn should be in the center of the patch or against a wall. When you plant your corn its best to try to get 4 rows with 6 being ideal. This may mean a corn patch that is 6 rows with 8 seeds per row. The idea is to help ensure a good cross pollination of corn. If planted in a single or double row you limit pollination.
- Beans – You should plant your pole beans around the perimeter of your corn when the corn is 1’ tall. You will want your beans to be able to be supported by the corn. When planting, it is important to not have more than 1 bean for every corn stalk. Ideally, I have found it to be 1 bean plant for every 2-3 corn stalks as the beans will branch out. You cannot successfully plant a fresh eating bean in the middle of the corn as you will never be able to harvest it. If you are growing drying beans, you probably can but we limit to around the perimeter.
- Once you planted your beans, you can sow your squash. Some sow their squash when they sow their corn and that is fine. But do plant your squash 3-4 feet away from the corn. Squash will grow fast and far. It is ok to move and stake your squash vines as you see fit. The squash is creating a natural border to help deter critters from eating your corn.