Three Sisters--The Original Companion Planting
The staffs of life in America for over a thousand years, corn, beans, and squash were called the Three Sisters. All of them provided food that would store for the winter without refrigeration. They were grown together in such a way that each created good conditions for the others. The corn created a trellis or pole for the beans to grow on. The beans have colonies of beneficial bacteria on their roots that are able to suck nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil to prevent nutrient depletion. The corn secretes sugars from its roots that nourish these bacteria. The squash shades the soil to prevent the sun from making the soil dry hard, providing perfect conditions forthe beans and corn to grow.
Our collection contains corn for cornmeal or polenta, pole beans for either dry of fresh use, winter squash, and an information sheet with detailed planting information.
These plants were considered sacred, and revered in song and legend. Native American agriculture was so sophisticated that European observers did not at first recognize it as agriculture at all. It supported a large and healthy population, without need for draft animals, iron tools, or chemical fertilizers, while preserving the environment in stable and healthy condition for centuries.