Corn, Beans & Squash

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Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by nmusi.. » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional Native
American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.  
I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?  
What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any information.

Thanks in advance!


 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by FarmerDi » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00


The Cherokee planted corn seven grains(kernels) to a hill  Hills were about 4
feet apart. Had a religious connotation that I have since forgotten.  The beans
were planted with the corn ( supplies nitrogen) old time farmers used cornfield
beans for the same purpose.  Winter squash were planted between the corn hills
15 - 20 feet apart.  

Dill

 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Pat Kiewi » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:

>I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional Native
>American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
>work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.  
>I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?
>What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any information.

>Thanks in advance!

The book

        Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden
        (as told to Gilbert Wilson)

was copywrited in 1917 and has been reprinted.

Buffalo Bird Woman (in Hidatsa, Maxidiwiac) was born ca. 1839 in
what is now North Dakota.  (She was old enough to remember a time
before European weeds spread through the upper mid-west...)
I would not be able to do justice to the information in a brief
summary.  

If you are interested in buying a copy of this book, it is carried
by Pinetree Garden Seeds (web site, superseeds.com) as part of
their extensive book section (31 pages of the catalog).
--
Pat in Plymouth MI
SORRY!   My return address is munged.  Drop the BOMB
to get through.

 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Nartk » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
>I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional
>Native
>American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
>work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.

>I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?

>What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any
>information.

While browsing at Seed Savers Store one day last fall, I noticed they had
several books on the tradition of the 3 Sisters.  You may contact the store,
its in Decorah, IA AC 319.

As an aside, I was told by an Elder, that the color patterns associated with
"Indian" corn allow the various tribes to claim "ownership"  of the genetics.
That is to recognize it as there own as it was passed to their people through
the tribal history.


 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Gary Coope » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:
> I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional Native
> American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
> work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.  
> I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?  
> What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any information.

> Thanks in advance!



As I understand it, you plant the corn first, in fairly widely spaced rows
(or rows of hills), then when it starts to get tall you plant (pole) beans
next to each cornstalk and squashes between the rows. The cornstalks serve
as supports for the climbing beans, even after you've picked the ears of
corn, and the beans help fix nitrogen for the squash and (next year's)
corn. Also, if you eat these three things together, along with maybe some
peppers or tomatoes or fresh fruit, you've got pretty much a nutritionally
complete diet.
Some seed catalogs recommend particular varieties for this "three sisters"
method of culture. I don't have them handy, but I think both Seeds of
Change and Vermont Bean Seed Company say something about it.

Gary

 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Helen Ka » Thu, 12 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:
> I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional Native
> American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
> work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.  
> I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?  
> What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any information.

Margaret Visser describes this method in _Much Depends on Dinner_. It's
not a gardening book, I hasten to add, but she also compares Native
American farming practices with corn monoculture, which you might
find interesting. I haven't checked her bibliography, but there may be
further references there.

Helen.

 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Jon Shemit » Thu, 12 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
> I am looking for information regarding the cultivation of a traditional Native
> American corn, beans and squash garden.  I understand that the three plants
> work symbiotically to reduce weeds, nurture one another and increase yields.
> I dont know, however how each is planted.  Are they planted in rows or hills?
> What distance apart, etc, etc?  I would be very interested in any information.

I gather the traditional practice is to plant all three in a single
mound. Either I misunderstood something, or this requires specific
varieties - it didn't work well for me.

What I've done is to just plant the corn normally, in double rows. (Or
more, obvilously, if you have a big garden.) About two weeks after I
plant the corn, I plant the beans. (You want to give the corn a chance
to get a bit of height before the beans start twining around the
stalks.) About two weeks after that, I plant the squash.

I've had the most trouble with the squash component: Plant too big
leafed a squash too soon, and you ***out the corn. Plant the squash
too late, and the squash doesn't seem to get enough sun.

--

http://www.moonsgarden.com/ - for info about me, my work, my writing,
                               and my homeschool resource pages.

 
 
 

Corn, Beans & Squash

Post by Gary Coope » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00


...

Quote:
> I gather the traditional practice is to plant all three in a single
> mound. Either I misunderstood something, or this requires specific
> varieties - it didn't work well for me.

> What I've done is to just plant the corn normally, in double rows. (Or
> more, obvilously, if you have a big garden.) About two weeks after I
> plant the corn, I plant the beans. (You want to give the corn a chance
> to get a bit of height before the beans start twining around the
> stalks.) About two weeks after that, I plant the squash.

> I've had the most trouble with the squash component: Plant too big
> leafed a squash too soon, and you ***out the corn. Plant the squash
> too late, and the squash doesn't seem to get enough sun.

As I understand it, you plant the squash in the spaces BETWEEN the rows of
corn/beans. As the squash grows, its leaves shade the ground, which helps
retain soil moisture (very beneficial in dryish climates) and retards the
growth of weeds.

Gary