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The Three Sisters Planting Technique – The Most Efficient Way To Grow Food

The Three Sisters Planting Technique – The Most Efficient Way To Grow Food

Image Credit: 64MM @ Flickr

Companion planting is all the rage these days, but did you know this practice goes back thousands of years?

The three sisters garden is one of the oldest and most well known companion planting styles.

Believed to be named by the Iroquois well before colonials landed in America, this style of companion planting works by growing three crops together in a symbiotic relationship.

What is a three sisters garden?

A three sisters garden is one of the most traditional forms of companion planting, where all the plants in one area contribute to the growth and success of the other plants.

The three sisters garden contains three plants: corn, beans, and squash.

All of these plants work in harmony to support each other while they grow.

The Plants In A Three Sisters Garden

Corn

Corn provides the support system for the other two sisters. Corn grows fast, strong, and tall. All its nooks and crannies provide the perfect support for the twirling vines of pole beans to climb.

Flint or flour corn work best in a three sister garden, as they’re to be harvested at the end of the growing season.

Beans

Beans need to climb in order to reach enough sunlight to produce their crop. The beans climb the corn and wrap and wind their way around the plant in search of sun.

The beans give back to the corn and squash because they’re a nitrogen fixing plant. Beans put nitrogen into the soil at their roots, which helps to feed the corn and squash.

When growing a three sisters garden, always use pole beans, not bush beans. Pole beans are the type to climb, where as bush beans stand on their own, but take up more space with their bushiness.

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