This summer I am growing a small “three sisters” garden. According to the native American way of gardening the three sisters are corn, beans and squash. Instead of being grown separately in rows , the three staple crops are grown together in raised hills. The three sisters support each other during the growing season: corn provides support for the beans to climb, beans add nitrogen to the soil and provide support for the corn in the wind and squash leaves shade the hills, conserving valuable water. I decided to grow Roy’s Calais corn, Trail of Tears beans and a variety of summer and winter squashes. Roy’s Calais is descended from traditional “Indian” corn and is supposed to be drought and cool weather resistant and make great corn meal. Trail of Tears beans are a traditional Cherokee bean to be harvested and dried.

First the hills were laid out evenly in the allotted space:

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When the corn is about 6 inches high, it is thinned to 3 or 4 stalks per hill and corn and squash are planted in a circle around the corn:

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Then I watched it grow! The beans are now climbing the corn.

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Thanks for looking…bart.

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