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Garden Design: FAQs & Tips for Starting a Three Sister Garden

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
Three Sisters Garden - Corn, Beans & Squash

Three sisters; corn, beans and squash when grown at the same time in the same garden as companion plants are called Three Sisters Garden design. And NO we are not talking about three women! These 3 crops help each other to grow. These 3 sisters are the prime example of Companion Planting. Companion Planting is the practice of planting 2 or more plants together in such a way that they mutually benefit each other’s growth. 

Read this article to know more about this unique technique in gardening! 

What exactly is Three sisters gardening? 

In this garden design, a heap of soil is built and firstly maize seeds are sown. When the maize seeds grow and attain a specific height the squash seeds are sown followed by beans. The idea behind the three sisters garden design is that these crops support each other in individual growth. 

Why is Three sister garden technique so popular? 

It is so popular for a simple reason: it maintains high yields, promotes healthy soil, suppresses weeds, attracts pollinators, promotes genetic diversity and requires low water input – all without harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers. 

How do the three sister plants; maize, corn and squash help each other?  

Beans are a climber crop, and maize plant provides it support to climb on, reducing the need of poles and sticks. Beans being legumes help in fixing nitrogen in the soil. Beans also help maize by providing it stability and making it less vulnerable to blow in the wind. Squash works a s mulch due to its sprawling nature. Hence, reduces the chances of water loss from the soil. The shallow rooted squash resists the growth of weeds as well. 

Are there any other plants that can be incorporated in three sister garden design? 

Apart from corn, maize and squash, you can also consider growing Amaranthus and sunflower as companion Plants. These plants have a perk of attracting pollinators and prevent other sisters from scorching afternoon heat. Sow Sunflowers between maize plants and sow Amaranthus in the middle of squash plants. Sunflowers are popular for their seeds and Amaranthus yields both edible leaves and seeds. 

Bonus! Tips to grow your own three sisters garden- 

  • If you thinking to set your own three sisters garden, spring is the best season. Corn beans and squash love warm climate.

  • Make sure your soil is fertile and has all the necessary nutrients

  • Create a hill of soil that is about a foot high and four feet wide; this will help water drainage and soil warmth. 

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Hey! I am Sugandh Bhatnagar. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

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