Three Sisters Hill
The Three Sisters (Corn, Beans and Squash) have been planted by traditional Native American gardeners for many years and believed to have originated with the Haudenosauness (hah-dee-no-show-nee), or "People of the Longhouse". The three plants are companions; they help each other by maximizing growing conditons for one another.
The corn grows in the center and serves as a support for climbing pole beans. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil, important for nitrogen loving, heavy feeding corn. The squash surrounds the corn and beans and covers the ground, acting as a repellant to pests such as raccoons, retaining moisture in the soil, and suppressing weeds. Growing plants close together in the style of 'The Three Sisters promotes water conservation and helps prevent soil erosion.
How to Grow 'The Three Sisters Collection'
Prepare the soil by working in well-rotted compost or other organic matter. A similar side dressing applied when plants are about knee high, will give corn an added boost in growth.
One to two weeks before your last frost date, create a hill 12 inches high by 20 inches wide (30cm x 50cm). In 1 inch deep holes, sow 5 to 10 corn seeds, 6 inches apart in a circular formation centered on the hill. When the corn is 4 to 6 inches high, thin to 5 plants, and plant 4 to 8 pole bean seeds and 4 squash seeds, equally spaced around the corn. Water well.
After thinning, you should have 5 Corn plants, 4 Bean plants, and 2 Squash plants.