All In A Days Work With The Three Sisters!

Hi Guys,

What a great productive day i’ve had today……well everyday is productive but today was ‘mental’ busy but I enjoyed every minute….and the sun shone…..yey!!

The day started well…..we had electricity ;)…sad but I really missed it yesterday.  So all my gadgets and gizmos were charged up and ready to ‘role’, including ME!!

I popped over next door to my elderly neighbours first as they love their flowers and had a load of bedding plants that needed to go in………I thought that would be a 20 minute job as most of the flowers go into pots and tubs rather than into the ground…..but not today…..my lovely neighbour decided she would like them to be planted into a corner of her lawn.  Now there is a flower bed there………BUT it was mostly covered in grass and weeds 😦 Oh well, I set to it and once I got going…..with the help of my elderly neighbours, their son in law…..and their 4 year old grand daughter……we cleared the ground…..made a new boundary with some rocks (no problem finding them here as we live at the bottom of the mountainside).  Then we planted up some buzy lizzies and a few other bedding plants…..JOB DONE…..had a lovely cup of tea with them and a homemade scone and headed back to my tunnels.

I then prepared the bed where I had previously grown my onions, added some fresh compost and planted up all my sweet corn plants Lark, Lapwing and some italian sweet corn which I bought in Florence last year.  I then inter planted them with some Courgettes/Zucchini…..Defender, Parthernon and again some Italian squash courgettes which I bought in Florence.  I also popped a few Speedy Beans around the bases of the Sweet Corn.

Why mix all these together I hear you ask…….well Sweet Corn and Courgettes/Zucchini are very hungry nitrogen plants and deplete the soil of this very important nutrient.  On the other hand the beans (or peas) actually do the opposite and put nitrogen back into the soil….so by planting these together hopefully we will have a happy balance of nutrients.  This combination of plants is often referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’, which is an ancient method of gardening.  Sometimes this is done in a mound or hill but I plant all of mine level and it works!

Corn is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center. Courgette/Zucchini (Squash) is the next sister and she grows over the ground protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist.  The third and final sister is the Bean (or pea) and she climbs up the sweet corn as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by converting the sun’s energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food…..Lesson Over 😉

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The 3 Sisters………although there are only 2 above ground as baby sister (bean) is still waiting to show!

If you are growing more than one type of sweet corn it is always advisable to leave a few feet between as they are wind pollinated and you might get a strange corn!!  I have planted mine in 3 areas as I have 3 different types.  Also remember that sweet corn MUST be planted in blocks rather than rows to pollinate.  I will do another blog on this subject as there is a little more to pollination than other veg, especially when growing under cover.

Last but not least today, I potted up my peppers of which there were loads.  I am growing sooooooo many different types including Apache Chilli, Super Chilli, Chilli Shake, Lantern Chilli, Californian Wonder and loads more…..tooooo many to name…..some really hot and some not!!

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A few peppers all potted up ready to sit in the smaller tunnel (my hot house) along with the tomatoes!

I have done a quick video so hope to upload in the next couple of days of planting the corn and courgette/zucchini plants along with the beans.

Tomorrow is another busy day so think its time for a well deserved rest.

Good Night

Eve

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13 responses

  1. Thanks for the helpful hints that you post. I love hearing about the different items that people like to grow.

    By the way what do you do with all the different peppers?

  2. Thanks for the helpful post! I’m still a novice when it comes to my vegetable garden, so am happy to learn which plants make good companions and which are best kept apart. I appreciate the info! 🙂

  3. wow! i did something good for my garden and didn’t even know it by planting my corn, zucchini, and beans all right next to each other! I’m sad though that my block of 9 corn plants is down to half a block. I think the birds are getting my baby stalks! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your blog is amazing! I love reading it… I think I always took the food on our table for granted until I started reading your blog… now I know how much work and effort you put in to keeping us fed! 🙂
    Love you x

  5. I’m doing 3 sisters this year, I’ve never grown beans or sweet corn or squash before ( I’m very new to allotments and have only grown tomatoes before) so thought i’d give it a try and had high hopes as it worked for the American First Nation tribes.
    However, I planted two types of corn, around 20 plants of each in two blocks NEXT to each other before I knew about cross pollination issues so now I’m not so sure what I’ll get but it’s too late now so fingers crossed…!

  6. Loved the lesson on the three sisters. Have not grown corn for years, so may try next year I’ve planted my courgettes where I had the beans last year using the rotation method. Of course in SW France we do have the advantage of warm weather so all is outside. Love the blog.

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