by Texas Homesteader ~
A popular garden planting strategy often attributed to the native American Indians is the 3-Sisters Garden.
This is a garden in which corn, beans and squash were planted. But they were planted for very specific reasons.
Each vegetable helped the other. And by helping each other, each vegetable also benefited by growing strong and producing a crop.
Planting With Symbiotic Benefit
An important food source for the Native American Indian was corn (or maize) and it was often planted to feed the tribe.
But corn is a heavy feeder of soil nutrients. Those nutrients needed to be replaced to help guarantee a bountiful harvest.
Pole Beans Contribution
So they planted pole beans next to the corn.
Beans are a legume. So the beans added nitrogen back to the soil to help nourish the corn.
In return for the favor, the corn offered a sturdy stalk to support the bean vine.
Squash Acts As Living Mulch
Squash was also planted as part of the 3-sisters garden.
The squash benefited from the nitrogen offered by the beans, and the dappled shade offered by the corn. And the squash covered the ground to act as a living mulch to benefit the corn and beans.
The large leaves and cover of the squash vine shaded the soil, helping to keep weeds from growing which would steal soil nutrients needed by the crop.
And since the ground was covered, the squash also helped preserve precious moisture in the soil by slowing evaporation.
I typically plant a 3-sisters garden each year. It’s only a small patch of my garden but I love the symbiotic relationship of the 3 crops as they work to benefit each other and themselves too.
It’s the most basic example of companion planting.
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Using Vining Plants For Living Mulch
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Compost Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
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