Thinking about what to plant in the garden this year, why not consider the three sisters?
Growing up in South Africa, and then Australia, I had never heard of the “three sisters” planting method until I moved to Manitoba recently. When I researched how it works, I couldn’t believe other countries hadn’t adopted this method earlier. According to the Iroquois, corn, squash and beans should only be grown together since they are “sisters” who shouldn’t be separated. This is a highly effective method of planting since the three plants work to benefit each other. The corn provides structure for the beans to climb, the beans enrich the soil with nitrogen, and the squash grows along the ground and blocks out sun light and prevents the spread of weed. The beans will also help to stabilize the corn plants so that they are less vulnerable to the wind. You can also include a fourth “sister”, a Rocky Mountain bee plant, or spider flower. The flowers attract bees, which help pollenate the beans and squash, and no doubt any other vegetables you have growing in your garden.
You can easily purchase the packs of seeds at your local garden centre or find nifty seed packs that contain all three types online. I recently purchased the Native American Three Sisters Garden pack here.
There are tons of sites online with detailed instructions on how to plant three sisters according to the size of your garden. I also found this Youtube video useful.
As you start planning your planting and plotting out your garden for summer, I highly encourage you to give the three sisters method a go this year. Let us know how you go and if any one has tried this before, feel free to send us any tips. Happy planting Fruit Sharers!