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A Planting Tradition; The Three Sisters Garden

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

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

Start by raking the soil into hills about three feet apart. Plant several corn seeds in each hill.

Once the corn is 6 to 8 inches tall, plant a few bean seeds on each hill at the base of the corn.

At the same time create several more hills for planting the squash. Plant several squash seeds in each hill.

The corn supports the pole beans, while the pole beans fix nitrogen from the atmosphere to feed the other plants. The squash covers the soil, creating a living mulch.

A bit more information: No room in the garden? Try this planting technique in a large container on your patio or deck. Start with corn. Once it reaches 6 inches in height add the squash and beans. Use a bush type squash to save space or allow a vining variety of squash to crawl across your deck.

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