The close grouping of different plants that
enhance each other's growth or protect each other from pests.
The Three Sisters garden is an ancient Native American companion planting
concept. It is comprised of 3 plants:
corn, squash, and climbing beans, and in true companion plant fashion they work
together to enhance the other plants around which they grow.
The beans assist the corn and squash by gathering nitrogen
from the air and depositing it in the soil, enriching it and providing
nutrients for the other plants.
The squash spreads out its leaves and creates shade, which
discourages weeds and helps the soil stay moist. Squash plants also have prickly
leaf stems that help dissuade critters that could cause damage to the other
The corn assists the beans by giving them something to
climb, so they aren’t suppressed by the large squash leaves and can continue
their nitrogen-gathering work. The corn
also provides nutrients the beans lack, and vice versa, meaning better
nutrition for the harvester.
We have had great success with our example garden. The plants are healthy and growing
vigorously; we are harvesting squash almost every day. The Three Sisters garden
is a great method to try at home because it is simple and has proven itself
over and over. Experiment with different
varieties of climbing beans, squash and corn, and have fun! Happy growing!