|Friday Five: The Three Sisters|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 01 June 2012|
Native Americans often used the technique of companion planting in their agricultural practices, one of which is called "The Three Sisters" because it refers to the inter-planting of corn, beans, and squash together on a rounded mound of soil. Here's how to plant your own Three Sisters garden.
1. Choose a location for the garden that if possible is circular in shape, and then prepare the soil by tilling and adding soil amendments such as compost or manure if needed.
2. Sow 6 to 8 corn seeds in a circular pattern in the center of the garden. The corn represents the oldest sister who stands tall.
3. When the corn has grown to a height of 10 to 12 inches or so, mound the soil around the base of the corn. Sow the seeds or plant seedlings of 12 pole beans approximately 6 to 8 inches away from the corn stalks.
4. After the beans sprout, wait a week or so and plant 6 to 8 squash seeds in a ring around the pole beans, about 12 to 15 inches out.
5. As the beans begin to grow, use the corn stalks as a pole for the beans to wind around. The large leaves of the squash will shade the soil and protect the roots of the corn, beans, and squash and help retain soil moisture. Even so, don't forget to water the Three Sisters garden thoroughly as needed.
Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Families
A Handbook of Native American Herbs (Healing Arts)
Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness (At Table)
Photo source: www.smm.org