22 November, 2008

Growing Strong: A Three Sisters Garden Update

Oh, how the girls have grown!

Sister Corn is reaching for the clouds, growing more shoots than any corn plant I've ever seen. Sister Bean has curious tendrils, finding their serpentine way around Corn's long, leafy arms. And Sister Pumpkin is not to be outdone, spreading her vines around the base of it all.

Visually, it's quite impressive how these three, with no guidance or assistance, have gravitated toward each other and remained tight and tidy on their little mound home.

Here is a reminder of their humble beginnings.

Nearly every plant has survived the peculiar up-and-down dry-then-wet weather we've had, with four corn stalks, four (five?) pumpkins, and around eight beautiful beans.

I am more than a little excited over the harvest these ladies have promised with their consistent bright green growth and unwavering sturdiness. If my predictions are anywhere close to accurate, we should expect a delicious harvest of all three just in time for the winter holidays.

Added bonus, husband has large amounts of time off at the holidays, and that means I get some help with harvest! And help will be much needed and desired as plans (Ha! Gardens, plans? Yeah, right.) have not only corn, beans, and early pumpkin arriving on Santa's sleigh, but dozens of tomatoes, peppers, and lettuces too! Depending on the birds, we may even have ourselves a fresh apricot pie with our holiday meal.

I really couldn't be more pleased with this Three Sisters experiment. In fact, I'm so overjoyed with the progress that I've begun a second mound for later harvest.

These neighboring sisters bear the same varieties of corn and bean, but with cucumber as the littlest sibling, providing cool comfort to the other girls, and refreshing summer salad fixings for us!

I look forward to sharing more updates on this beautifully simple gardening method in the coming weeks. Any guesses as to poundage of the harvest?


suzan said...

Lovely Three Sisters! Our Native sisters really understood growing things instinctively, didn't they? I've been fascinated by the 3 Sisters, too, and the combination of these foods allow for complete protein. Manataka.org has good recipes from the Oneida Nation if you haven't already checked it out. How fun, Kelly! Your garden is thriving.

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Thank you, Suzan! I'm really very pleased with how the whole thing is turning out. We had such a disasterous fall garden attempt. But this one, though far from perfect, seems to be doing leaps and bounds, by comparisson!

Anonymous said...

Beware the cucumber. She is a jealous sister and has been known to "poison" others. Indeed, cucumbers have been shown to put forth a particular toxin that can actually limit the growth of other surrounding plants. Oak trees make use of the same toxin. But not to worry, the cucumber lives well with corn and beans; but will not tolerate the presence of potatoes or aromatic herbs, for instance.

The good news is that the presence of the cucumber helps to keep away varmints such as raccoons. It can also discourage certain insects, most especially ants.

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Dad: Whew! Scared me for a second there. I will definitely keep my cucumbers separate from the rest of the world. The Three Sisters mounds are kind of off to one side.