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Has anyone tried American Indian compact gardening?

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Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 12:04 PM
Original message
Has anyone tried American Indian compact gardening?
I heard about this at a gardening seminar recently. Plant corn and when the stalks come up, plant pole beans that will run up the stalks and pland squash around the perimeter. This is supposedly what the American Indians did. Any thoughts?
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. The squash leaves will shadow and supress the weeds that sprout
There is a larger theme of "companion planting" that involves details like that. Companion planting allows plants to share metabolic processes so they grow faster. Or so I have read.

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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-11 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. They're also supposed to keep the racoons away from the corn
Since my garden doubles as the local wildlife restaurant I'm planning on trying this this year.
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era veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. The groundhogs love the three sisters in our garden.
Native Americans had a "fourth sister" known as "Rocky Mountain bee plant" (Cleome serrulata), which attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash.
The Sacagawea dollar



The first coin in the series, issued in 2009, was designed by Mint sculptor-engraver Norman E. Nemeth, the subject being the spread of Three Sisters Agriculture.It depicts a Native American woman planting seeds in a field populated with corn, beans and squash
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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. Quite a few people try this approach.
It's usually referred to as "three sisters" gardening, the three sisters being the corn, beans, and squash/pumpkins.

Personally, I don't like the approach. Because it's not really geared for what most of us do, which is growing sweet corn, green beans, and winter squash.

The original concept is to grow dry corn (generally a flint type, or possibly a flour corn) with dry beans and winter squash. All of these are harvested in the autumn, after the vines and stalks have essentially died and dried, and possibly even after light frost, but before it is cold enough to harm the keeping quality of the winter squash/pumpkins.

However, the problem, IMHO, with using this for more contemporary crops of sweet corn and green beans is that those crops require a lot of movement through the patch, and it's virtually impossible to get through a tangle of cornstalks, bean vines, and squash vines without doing damage. Especially when it requires multiple trips to make repeated harvests of green beans and sweet corn.

That problem aside, it does make sense in terms of the symbiotic relationship between the crops - the beans fix nitrogen, which corn uses alot of. The squash vines keep down the weeds, the corn provides a living trellis for the beans.
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laylah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
3. It is called The Three Sisters by
the Native Americans. There is A LOT of information here

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=the+thre...

Happy planting, Raven. :hug: I did try this method and other than the fact the raccoons had fun, I think it went well.
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Zoigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-11 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks, Raven. Am going to try this..except plant zucchini instead
of squash. Also going to try your "milk bath" treatment.
Thought i knew a lot about gardening, but find new ideas
often on this site...z
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Zoigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-11 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Whoops, it is Lyric who gave us the milk bath recipe. Sorry....z
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-01-11 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
7. It works
the beans give the corn vigor and the squash is shaded by the corn and the beans have a place to grow.

I'm creating a labyrinth corn bed this year. I'll take pics if it's cool looking. I'm inter planting early and late corn so they won't cross pollinate and give me 2 kinds of corn.
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TNLib Donating Member (683 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-13-11 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
9. I've heard it called three sisters. I believe it works
nt
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Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-14-11 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yes...the three sisters. I've planted the corn and the sprouts are about
1 1/2 inches up. When they are about 5 inches I will plant the beans and the squash. So far, so good. :-)
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-03-11 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
11. Three sisters gardens?
I've grown several of them. The corn and squash/gourds did better than the beans, but it worked.
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