Three Sisters Seed Collection - Native American Farming - Corn, Bean, Squash
The crops of corn, beans, and squash are known as the Three Sisters. For centuries these three crops have been the center of Native American agriculture and culinary traditions. It is for good reason as these three crops complement each other in the garden as well as nutritionally.
Corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb so that they are not out-competed by sprawling squash vines. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil while also stabilizing the tall corn during heavy winds. Beans are nitrogen-fixers meaning they host rhizobia on their roots that can take nitrogen, a much needed plant nutrient, from the air and convert it into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots. The large leaves of squash plants shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.
These three crops are also at the center of culinary traditions and complement one another as well. A diet of corn, beans, and squash is complete and balanced. Corn provides carbohydrates and the dried beans are rich in protein and have amino acids absent from corn. Squash provides different vitamins and minerals than corn and beans. These three crops are also important because they can all be dried and used for food year round.
•60 Corn, Bantam
•50 Bean, Kentucky Wonder
•25 Squash, Zucchini Dark Green
See 2nd photo for layout.
Mound the soil approximately 4 inches high with a small well in the center. It should resemble a moon crater. Plant 4 corn seeds in the center in the well, 6 inches apart and 1-3 inches deep. After corn is about 4 inches tall, plant 4 beans seeds halfway down the sides of the mound at least 3 inches from the corn plant, 1 inch deep. After the beans have emerged, plant 2 squash seeds 24 inches from the center of the mound on opposite sides. Train squash to vine outward from the mound and not crowd the corn and beans. Place additional mounds 3-4 feet apart from the center.