This summer we’ve taken a page out of gardening history and are trying a variation of the “three sisters” Native Americans’ planting technique. The trio involves corn, climbing (or pole) beans and squash.

The corn provides support for the beans, which in turn fix nitrogen in the soil for the corn. The squash shades the “feet” of the corn and the beans, preserving moisture for all three to thrive. Pretty smart, eh?

Ordinarily the three are planted together, often in mounds. Instead we tried two rows of corn with beans planted in-between. Between the two rows we made a series of  mounds where the squash was planted. The corn is almost a foot tall now, and the beans are already out-pacing the corn, though it all looks pretty good so far. The squash is growing well, ready to do its part in the scheme.

There is an electric fence surrounding the garden, though we aren’t fooling ourselves into thinking that will keep the raccoons out once the corn gets ready. Actually we aren’t expecting any corn, just relying on it to support the climbing beans. Corn would be a bonus for sure. Stay tuned…