Three Sisters Planting: Corn, Beans and Squash

After checking my companion my planting guide, I’ve discovered that planting sunflowers too close to pole beans is not a good idea. Apparently, they hinder the growth of the beans and hog all the nutrients. So I will plant them with cucumbers which seems to be a match made in heaven. The sunflowers provide the shade cucumbers need to thrive.

In my eagerness and desperation to get all of the stragglers in the fedge and vineyard, I had forgotten that I have a slew of seeds to get in the ground this week as well.

  • Pumpkin
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Nasturtium
  • Sunflower
  • Snowpuff popcorn
  • Pole Beans
  • Bush Beans

Today I planted purple pole beans, green pole beans, bush beans, corn for popping and more nasturtium. I’m hoping to get to the okra and sunflowers tomorrow.




I’m trying a new method with some of the beans and corn. It’s called three sisters planting.

In a 4′ wide x 1′ high mound of dirt, you sow six corn kernels about 10″ apart in a circle. Then, when the corn is about 5″ tall, you plant four bean seeds around each corn start. Then, you wait a week and plant six squash seeds around the whole mound.

The corn supports the beans. The squash protects all three from raccoons with its prickly leaves and provides “living mulch”, shading the soil to keep it moist and preventing weeds. Squash pretty much takes over if you let it and chokes out any plant that gets in its way.

The beans fix nitrogen for the corn by pulling it from the air. Then, they give the corn and squash a “hug” as they wind up into the sunlight. The beans hold the whole group together. I hope it works like the almanac says it will. I think it will be pretty with the squash flowers and purple pole beans.

We are planting more sunflowers than we did last year. We had four last year but saved a whole pint jar full of seeds from them. We could have saved even more, but I threw them out into the pasture to see if any would come up this year. I plan to plant what remains on the north side of the bean trench.

I’ll have to wait on the tomatoes and peppers. I’m going to go to a nursery and get the starts, as I’ve already transplanted our own starts. The orange cherry tomatoes were so good last year, and they were a great producer for us. I’d also like to get some romas as I did not save any seeds from our crop last year.

I’m almost done planting our summer garden and will soon start planning our fall garden…not that I want to rush autumn in or anything.

Summer is coming
Fall will follow close behind
Not too fast, I hope

4 responses to “Three Sisters Planting: Corn, Beans and Squash

  1. Pingback: Clucks and Corn | a pinch of homestead

  2. Pingback: Three Sisters: A Poem | a pinch of homestead

  3. Pingback: A Tragedy and a Triumph | a pinch of homestead

  4. Pingback: Okra! Corn! | a pinch of homestead

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