We Three Sisters

August 29, 2014 • Blog

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companion planting


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 plants.

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!

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