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Three Sisters Planting Tradition

Try a Native American tradition of planting corn, squash and beans - the three sisters’ method - together in your garden this year.

The Native Americans believed that corn, squash and beans were special gifts from the Great Spirit.  Each of the crops was protected by the spirit of one of the three sisters. These sisters loved and needed each other just like the plants.

Plant the crops in raised areas called “hills” three feet apart.  Each hill contains corn and beans.  Every few hills contain squash.

Mixing crops like this, called interplanting, reduces the risk of insect and disease problems and increases the production.

Plant several seeds of corn in each hill.  Plant the pole beans and squash once the corn is 4 to 6 inches tall.

The corn provides support for the pole beans.  The beans take nitrogen from the air to feed the plants and the squash forms a living mulch.

A bit more information: If space is limited, try planting just a couple of hills and use bush type squash.  You won't be harvesting much sweet corn, but you will have plenty of beans, squash, and memories to share at the end of the season.

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