Have you heard of the “Three Sister’s”? It is a Native American legend which refers to corn, beans and squash. These beautiful sister’s are known as the “sustainers” of life. They grow together in the same mound each one protecting the others. The corn stands tall so the beans have a pole to climb. The beans help to keep the soil fertile and keep the corn from falling when it’s windy. While the squash vines act as a living mulch, keeping weeds from invading and protecting the soils moisture.The legend of the “Three Sister’s” varies from tribe to tribe, but my favorite is the Iroquios version. I have two sisters of my own and this story reminds me a lot of our relationships.
A long time ago, there were three sister’s who lived together in a field. The sisters were very different from one another in their size, shape and appearance. The youngest sister wore velvet green with beautiful tendril ribbons. She was only able to crawl at first but with the help of her oldest sister she was able to stand up. The middle sister wore bright yellow and loved to run across the field when the sun was shining. The oldest sister had silky hair and wore a green shawl, she stood very tall and straight always guarding her younger sisters. As different as the sister’s were they shared a love for one another and knew that they could not survive apart.
One day, a little boy came into their field. The sisters were intrigued by him as he ran around, jumping and yelling. They watch him all day and as night fell the little boy wandered off and the sisters wondered where he might have gone.
Later that summer, the youngest sister who couldn’t stand without her older sisters help, disappeared. Her sisters kept watch for her, praying that she would return. As the days passed the sisters began to mourn the loss of their beloved younger sister.
Once again, the little boy appeared in the sisters field. Again the sisters watched him as he collected reeds from the rivers edge.
That night, the second sister disappeared. This time it was the sister who was dressed in bright yellow. The lone remaining sister. stood tall, praying that one day they would all be reunited.
As winter grew closer, the oldest sister’s once shiny hair, began dulling and her green shawl began to fade. She continued to hold on to the love that she had for her sisters but knew that her survival would not continue without them.
One day, late in the fall, the little boy returned to the field and heard the oldest sister crying. His heart ached for her, so he took her in his arms and carried her to his home. Waiting for her, was her two lost sisters. Now that they were reunited they were once again able to sustain each other.
1. Purchase the seeds
When purchasing seeds make sure that you choose pole beans and not the bush
variety. You also want to make sure that the squash seeds that you choose are the
trailing variety and not the compact variety.
2. When to plant
The best time to plant is when the night temperature stays above 50 degrees. This
usually occurs in late May, early June.
3. Preparing the garden
Choose an area that will receive at least 6-8 hours of sunshine a day. Work a
generous amount of compost into the soil and form a mound that is 10-12 inches
high and 4 feet in diameter. The top of the mound should be flat.
4. Planting the Corn
On the top of the mound, plant four corn seeds in a square. Space them 12 inches
apart and 1 inch deep. Cover with soil and water.
5. Weeding & Planting the Pole Beans
When the corn reaches 4 inches tall remove all of the weeds that have grown on the
mound. Now plant 4 pole bean seeds 6 inches from the base of the corn and 1 inch
deep. Cover the seeds with soil and water the mound.
5. Weeding & Planting the Squash
One week after the beans sprout, remove all of the weeds that have grown on the
mound. Now plant the 6 squash seeds 1 inch deep and 1 foot from the base of
corn and beans. Cover the seeds with soil and water the mound.
Continue weeding until the squash takes over and shades the new weeds..
Keep the soil moist.