Thursday, April 15, 2010

Planting the 3 Sisters

From the Fire Queen :
Hi Bob, thanks for the corn which arrived yesterday. A friend in Texas wrote me that :
Corn the Indian way was to plant a couple of seeds,a dead fish in the same hole and a few beans very close (or in the same hole.?)

Any comments? Sounds like it would be fun to do, so plan to get a few pounds of sprats down the fishmongers for when we plant out. Being Britain, going to plant and raise first indoors then outside under cover until strong enough to face the weather. (plants that is not me!)

Thanks so much for this gift across the divide.

Fire -
You're on to 2/3's of what is called " The 3 Sisters ". Check out this video I shot , I'm planting seedlings, but the technique is the way the Indians of the southwest farmed the dry river beds. Corn was planted in a "hill" usually a circle 2 to 3 feet across. Mixed in with the corn, they planted squash, and beans. Digging out the hill, and adding manure, mulch, fish, and other fertilizers was done widely. I'd let the fish sit in the ground a few days before I planted on top of it. Corn loves nitrogen, and the beans the Indians were using probably had legume properties. I.E. nitrogen fixing bacteria in their roots.
Try a circle with 5 or 6 corn plants in it, space out the plantings. In different holes plant 3 or 4 beans, 3 or 4 squash.
Corn and beans combine to make complete protein needs in humans. This is how the peoples of Mexico achieved such large populations.
Image credit

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