Plant a 'Three Sisters' Vegetable Plot
Three Sisters include corn, beans and squash. As part of the circle of life,
these New World crops rely upon each other for survival. According to the
Iroquois -- who chant "you who sustain us" to the trio -- the
Three Sisters hold a spiritual, ceremonial and celebratory place in the
garden. Not only are the Three Sisters rich in mythological, cultural and
botanical history, they belong together nutritionally. Corn, beans and squash
complement each other: corn for grain and carbohydrate, beans for protein
and squash for vitamin A.
Three Sisters all work together. Critters will find it harder to invade
your garden by interplanting your corn, beans and squash. The corn stalk
serves as a pole for the beans, the beans help to add the nitrogen to the
soil that the corn needs, and the squash provides a ground cover of shade
that helps the soil retain moisture.
Mound soil. Plant corn first. When it reaches 5-6 inches, plant beans. When
beans sprout, plant squash either in mound sides or between mounds. Mounds
can be arranged in the symbolic circle of life or adjusted to fit the plot
available. Expect the Three Sisters to be unruly, despite efforts to control
them. These gardens teach patience and express the natural world's complexity.
Do enjoy and appreciate the ancient beauty and unforgettable taste of the