Three Again / by Karie Luidens

Three Sisters.jpg

Back to the number three. I’ve been weighing what seeds I’ll plant once I’ve amended the soil out back, and the first and most natural choice for a food garden in this region of the world is the Three Sisters.

Melissa Kruse-Peeples of the nonprofit Native Seeds/SEARCH explains:

For many Native American communities, three seeds - corn, beans, and squash represent the most important crops. When planted together, the Three Sisters, work together to help one another thrive and survive. Utilizing the corn, beans, and squash together in your garden draws upon centuries of Native American agricultural traditions and expertise.

Corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb so that they are not out-competed by sprawling squash vines. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil while also stabilizing the tall corn during heavy winds. Beans are nitrogen-fixers meaning they host rhizobia on their roots that can take nitrogen, a much needed plant nutrient, from the air and convert it into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots. The large leaves of squash plants shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

Anyone who wishes can learn more, along with me, thanks to Native Seeds/SEARCH.