The ancient Native American technique of growing Corn, Beans, and Squash together in an arrangement called the Three Sisters is the ultimate in companion planting and helps increase harvests, naturally.
Corn acts as a support for climbing bean vines, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the high feeding requirements of corn and squash, and the squash provides mulch and root protection for the corn and beans. After cooperating beautifully in the garden, corn and beans form a complete protein when eaten together! How’s that for a mutually beneficial relationship?
The Three Sisters are all easy to direct sow in the garden and are a great project for children, teaching them about the beauty of natural harmony while providing a fast-growing reward for their efforts.
The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or “Our Sustainers”. The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of “green” corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Native Americans passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations.