3 Sisters - Companion Gardering *corn, beans, squash*

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Mindgrinder, Jan 13, 2014.


  1. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    A Legend | Cornell Garden-Based Learning

    Once upon a time very long ago, there were three sisters who lived together in a field. These sisters were quite different from one another in their size and also in their way of dressing. One of the three was a little sister, so young that she could only crawl at first, and she was dressed in green. The second of the three wore a frock of bright yellow, and she had a way of running off by herself when the sun shone and the soft wind blew in her face. The third was the eldest sister, standing always very straight and tall above the other sisters and trying to guard them. She wore a pale green shawl, and she had long, yellow hair that tossed about her head in the breezes.

    There was only one way in which the three sisters were alike. They loved one another very dearly, and they were never separated. They were sure that they would not be able to live apart.

    After awhile a stranger came to the field of the three sisters, a little Indian boy. He was as straight as an arrow and as fearless as the eagle that circled the sky above his head. He knew the way of talking to the birds and the small brothers of the earth, the shrew, the chipmunk, and the young foxes. And the three sisters, the one who was just able to crawl, the one in the yellow frock, and the one with the flowing hair, were very much interested in the little Indian boy. They watched him fit his arrow in his bow, saw him carve a bowl with his stone knife, and wondered where he went at night.

    Late in the summer of the first coming of the Indian boy to their field, one of the three sisters disappeared. This was the youngest sister in green, the sister who could only creep. She was scarcely able to stand alone in the field unless she had a stick to which she clung. Her sisters mourned for her until the fall, but she did not return.

    Once more the Indian boy came to the field of the three sisters. He came to gather reeds at the edge of a stream nearby to make arrow shafts. The two sisters who were left watched him and gazed with wonder at the prints of his moccasins in the earth that marked his trail.

    That night the second of the sisters left, the one who was dressed in yellow and who always wanted to run away. She left no mark of her going, but it may have been that she set her feet in the moccasin tracks of the little Indian boy.

    Now there was but one of the sisters left. Tall and straight she stood in the field not once bowing her head with sorrow, but it seemed to her that she could not live there alone. The days grew shorter and the nights were colder. Her green shawl faded and grew thin and old. Her hair, once long and golden, was tangled by the wind. Day and night she sighed for her sisters to return to her, but they did not hear her. Her voice when she tried to call to them was low and plaintive like the wind.

    But one day when it was the season of the harvest, the little Indian boy heard the crying of the third sister who had been left to mourn there in the field. He felt sorry for her, and he took her in his arms and carried her to the lodge of his father and mother. Oh what a surprise awaited here there! Her two lost sisters were there in the lodge of the little Indian boy, safe and very glad to see her. They had been curious about the Indian boy, and they had gone home with him to see how and where he lived. They had liked his warm cave so well that they had decided now that winter was coming on to stay with him. And they were doing all they could to be useful.

    The little sister in green, now quite grown up, was helping to keep the dinner pot full. The sister in yellow sat on the shelf drying herself, for she planned to fill the dinner pot later. The third sister joined them, ready to grind meal for the Indian boy. And the three were never separated again.

    Every child of today knows these sisters and needs them just as much as the little Indian boy did. For the little sister in green is the bean. Her sister in yellow is the squash, and the elder sister with long flowing hair of yellow and the green shawl is the corn.
    –A Mohawk legend
     
  2. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    three sisters garden planting companion

    The classic example of happy companion plants is the legendary"three sisters"—corn, pole beans, and either pumpkins orsquash. This trio is one of the easiest and most satisfying to grow.

    Tips for growing the three sisters:

    • To try them in your garden, in spring, prepare the soil by adding fish scraps or wood ash to increase fertility, if desired.
    • Make a mound of soil about a foot high and four feet wide.
    • When the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound. Sow six kernels of corn an inch deep and about ten inches apart in a circle of about 2 feet in diameter.
    • When the corn is about 5 inches tall, plant four bean seeds, evenly spaced, around each stalk. About a week later, plant six squash seeds, evenly spaced, around the perimeter of the mound.
    Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting.

    • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support.
    • The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three.
    • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
    • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
    • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons, which don't like to step on them.
    By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the "three sisters" for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together.
     
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  3. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    diagram.

    Three Sisters Collection Corn Bean Squash for Organic Growing - West Coast Seeds

    hree Sisters Collection


    Considered gifts to mankind by tribes of the First Nations, corn, beans, and squash have been grown together for centuries. Although the grouping is the subject of several legends, it's also an early and sophisticated variation on sustainable agriculture. The seeds of each type of vegetable, grown in single varieties, are easy to harvest and save from year to year. Corn provides a growing support for the beans, which in turn provide nitrogen for the corn and squash. The squash grow quickly, acting as a mulch against weeds. All three types of plant are heavy feeders, so grow this ancient combination in rich, well-drianed soil and add a small handful of complete organic fertilizer beneath each planting site. This collection contains seeds of Golden Bantam corn, Scarlet Runner Beans, and Red Kuri Squash.
    Traditionally, flat mounds are made 30cm (12") high and 50cm (20") wide. Several corn seeds are planted near the centre of each mound. Once the corn is about 15cm (6") tall, bean and squash seeds are alternately planted around the edge of each mound. Remember that corn is wind-pollinated, so this system requires numerous corn plants.
    Matures in approximately 75 days. (open pollinated seeds)

    BN130 A (25g) approximately 12 squash, 12 bean, and 28 corn seeds

    - See more at: Three Sisters Collection Corn Bean Squash for Organic Growing - West Coast Seeds
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
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  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Good stuff MG [winkthumb]
     
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