Thursday, April 2, 2009

How to plant the three sisters

1. In late May or early June, hoe up the ground and heap the earth into piles about a foot high and about 20 inches across. The centers of your mounds should be about four feet apart and should have flattened tops.

2. First, in the center of each mound, plant five or six corn kernels in a small circle.
Sarah's Three Sisters

3. After a week or two, when the corn has grown to be five inches or so, plant seven or eight pole beans in a circle about six inches away from the corn kernels.

4. A week later, at the edge of the mound about a foot away from the beans, plant seven or eight squash or pumpkin seeds.

5. When the plants begin to grow, you will need to weed out all but a few of the sturdiest of the corn plants from each mound. Also keep the sturdiest of the bean and squash plants and weed out the weaker ones.

6. As the corn and beans grow up, you want to make sure that the beans are supported by cornstalks, wrapping around the corn. The squash will crawl out between the mounds, around the corn and beans.

The beans will help add nitrogen to the soil which is needed for the corn and the squash acts as a weed barrier and helps conserve moisture.

Enjoy your harvest!!!

This is Bullseye...OUT !!!


HermitJim said...

I was wondering about this just today. Thanks for the information, my friend!

Angela said...

I thought about this also. It doesn't really work with my sweet husband's watering design (we have drip lines in our garden), but he's been pretty good to adjust the water to what I plant in the past.

Have you actually done this? I'm curious to know how well it worked. I understand it in theory, but then you have to put on protective gear (long pants) and muck through all those squash leaves to get to your beans and corn. Oooo--and the corn leaves totally make my arms itch if I'm not wearing long sleeves, so if I have to deal that every time I want to pick beans that might not be good either . . .

Anyone with real life experience planting this way?

Thanks for the good information!

Bullseye said...

Hermit Jim, glad to provide something useful for you. Thank you very much for coming over my friend.

Angela, not sure how the drip lines would work, just run them over the top of the mound I guess. And yes, I have raised corn, beans and squash this way for nearly 20 years, the only way I have ever raised it really. My great grand mother always used this method and I learned it from her many years ago. I have now problem gathering my beans or squash this way at all. But then again, I have never tried it any other way. I raise squash, pumpkins and zucchini every year. The great thing about this method is that you can put a mound here and there around the yard or garden. Your not really confined to long rows. I plant 3 mounds in the corner of the back yard too, there's nothing there anyway so I plant the "girls" as I like to call them. I hope you will give it a try and let us know how it works for you. Thanks for your comment and the link.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Always loved this story, Bullseye!

We're all gonna have to gather for the End Of The Calendar As We Know It swap meet...[Circa 2010...]

Hermit's five acres are game for the rondy-voos spot!Ha!

Bullseye said...

Cygnus, are you going to give the 3 sisters a try when you get to your land?? I hope you will give it a shot, works great and is easy too. Thank you brother.

Bitmap said...

The bean/corn nitrogen thing strikes me as a sort of concurrent crop rotation.

Can you eat the weaker bean plants when you pull them out? Are they still "bean sprouts" at that point or are they too big?

Seems like you could do this in a sort of raised bed. I have a number of old truck and tractor tires sitting around. I could fill them with soil and make planters out of them. I think I could cover the surface around the plants I want with landscape cloth or newspaper out to the edge of the tire and not have many weed problems. Any thoughts?

Mayberry said...

Awwwww, yer talkin' about food......

Angela said...

Okay, we might have to try this. I have some new climbing bean varieties I'm trying this year that need something to climb, so I'm game if we can figure out how to get water to them easy--I'm not too good at remembering to water--that's why we've got the drip system--turn the garden on, turn the garden off. No moving hoses, sprinklers, etc. I'll mull it over this next month or so before official planting time. Thanks again!

Bullseye said...

Bitmap, very good questions man. When I thin my plants I ALWAYS replant them elsewhere. These are established plants that will continue to grow if given a proper chance. I put the bean plants that I thin in large container, a big tub if you will, and they continue to do just fine. I'm not going to waste these plants, I put them somewhere else. And yes, you can do this in tires or whatever you have. I use newspaper to keep down weeds in all my beds, works great. Thanks for the good questions.

Bullseye said...

Mayberry, sorry to let ya down man. I guess the thought of 3 sisters got your attention..LOL

Angela, let me know what you come up with, may be good info for us all. Thanks