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How to Plant a Three Sisters Garden

Native Americans devised the ingenious Three Sisters garden, a method whereby beans grow up corn stalks while squash plants serve as ground cover.

More in Outdoors

three sisters consists of corn,beans and squash
  • Time

    Several Months

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Highlights:

Step 1: Purchase the Seeds

In a Three Sisters garden, corn, beans and squash plants are grown together in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Tall corn is grown in the middle. Climbing beans grow up the corn stalks. And squash spreads across the soil providing the ground cover. Be sure to select pole beans rather than bush, and trailing summer squash rather than compact varieties.

Step 2: Prepare the Site

Work a generous amount of compost into an area of the garden that receives full sun. Use a hoe to form a flat-topped hill 10" tall and no smaller than 4' in diameter.

make hills of good soil for seed planting

Step 3: Plant the Corn Seeds

In the center of the hill, plant four corn seeds 1" deep and 6" apart in all directions to form a square. Cover with soil and water well.

place 3 or 4 seeds in each hill

Step 4: Plant the Bean and Squash Seeds

When the corn plants get several inches tall, it’s time to plant the beans and squash. Plant four bean seeds 6" from the base of each corn plant and 1" deep. Finally, plant four or five squash seeds in a circle around the perimeter of the hill surrounding the bean and corn plants.

plant squash after corn sprouts

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