Three Sisters Planting

Three Sisters planting refers to a 5000-year-old method of mixed-crop gardening by American Indigenous cultures.  The three sisters - maize (corn), beans and squash - are incorporated into many different cultural folktales.  When grown together, these crops complement each other’s growth, and would provide backup sustenance in case one crop failed.  Traditionally, a farmer would place one of each seed in a hole together or all three on the same mound.  The corn grows tall and provides structure for the beans to climb. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil. The squash benefits from the shade of the other two, and in return, provides weed and moisture protection.  In our region, these warm weather crops are planted around the monsoon season to take advantage of the summer rains.

The foods from these crops have complimentary nutritional value as well.  Beans and corn combine to provide a complete protein, and the squash provides vitamins and nutritious oils from the seeds.  When cooked all together, they make a lovely succotash.

Grow and eat well!!

For more information and succotash recipes, check out these resourcesopens a new window.