This year a friend gave us some grain corn to plant. It’s Bloody Butcher, a variety which produces bright red kernels. I’ve wanted to do a Three Sisters planting for awhile, so it seemed like a good year to try it.
For a Three Sisters planting, you put corn, squash and beans all in the same planting space. This system of interplanting is said to have originated with the Iroquois.
Among the benefits: The beans use the corn stalks for support and help add nitrogen to the soil (corn is a heavy feeder) and the squash provides a ground cover to help keep out weeds.
I read about this planting strategy in several places, but here are a couple of links I found to be especially helpful: That Bloomin’ Garden, and Gardening Know How. A few things to keep in mind: you want pole beans, not bush beans, and also a vining squash variety.
So, the three varieties I chose are the Bloody Butcher corn, Kentucky Wonder Beans, and Red Kuri winter squash.
I’ll keep you updated on how it goes, but here are my first photos.
This shows the beans growing up around the base of the corn.
And the winter squash is just getting started. Here’s the first seedling.