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. 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 the benefit of the corn and squash. The corn secretes sugars from its roots that nourish these bacteria. The squash uses the nitrogen from the beans and shades the soil to create a moist cool place for the beans and corn to grow.
Our collection contains corn, pole beans, squash, and an information sheet.
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.