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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

A Companion Gardening Power Trio: The Three Sisters

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

The three sisters' garden is a time-honored practice in companion planting, where all of the plants work in synergy to benefit each other and save the gardener time. The sisters are a perfect choice for busy families who still wish to grow their own food without the time commitment of a traditional garden.  Meet the Sisters Corn provides the trellis for the other two sisters. Corn grows fast, strong, and tall. All its nooks and crannies offer the perfect ladder for the twisting vines of pole beans to climb. Flint or flour corn works best in a three-sister garden. Beans need to climb to gain adequate sunlight to produce their crop. Beans send nitrogen back into the dirt which helps nourish the corn and squash. When developing a three sisters garden, always use pole beans because they like to climb. Squash plants have huge leaves that provide shade and cover to the soil beneath the plants. These leaves help keep the plants well hydrated. The squash has pointy leaves and vines that deter pests like insects and animals. Your favorite squash will work for a three sisters' garden, whether it's pumpkin, summer, spaghetti, winter, acorn, or butternut. How to start a three sisters' garden 1. Be sure that the threat of frost has expired in your planting zone before beginning. None of these crops will survive temperatures below freezing. 2. The sisters love full sun so, find an area where the plants will get at least 6 hours of it. 3. Work the soil and rake it into a mound, 18 inches in diameter and approximately 10 inches tall. Rake the top of the hill, so it's level. Rake in compost or fertilizer at this time. 4. Plant 4-6 corn in a circle shape in the mound center. Plant the seeds roughly 6 inches from the center of the pile. Water and weed while the corn stalks get established. 5. When the corn is 6 inches high, plant some beans in a circle around the corn, approximately 6 inches from the corn shoots. 6. A week after planting the beans, plant the squash along the outer rim of the mound. 7. Weed and water until the squash leaves come in and help with ground cover. 8. When the beans start to grow vines, help them climb the corn by moving vines right next to the corn stalk.

And that's how it's done! This holy trilogy in gardening magic is an awesome way to help you save time and precious water resources all summer long. In the fall, you'll have healthy and delicious food to feed your family. The sisters are a great addition to any garden! Thanks for reading!

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