Companion planting is when one plants fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs in a manner which benefits all the plants. For example, planting corn, bean, and squash is method in which the Three Sisters are companion planted.
Three circles are made. In the center, the smallest circle, corn is planted. The middle circle contains pole beans. The outside circle consists of squash. The corn is planted so the beans may grow up it and the squash is planted because it creates large leaves which decreases the number of weeds which can grow. There is a scientific explanation as to why the three are so symbiotic but, honestly, I don’t understand it. Something to do with the beans creating nitrogen in the soil and the corn needing it to grow taller. Science isn’t really my thing so if someone can explain better than I can, I welcome your explanation.
After not planting any of the Three Sisters over the last couple years, Wolf and I decided to do so this year. The squash and beans have always been successful but the corn has always been stunted. I think that’s because we don’t get a lot of sun on Howling Hill. Corn really likes sun. But I decided to give it another try this year.
We chose a rainbow corn from High Mowing Seeds. I took a bunch of different colored kernels, including blue which I got from Matooka Moonbear, the Cancer Ministry leader at the Temple of Witchcraft, and placed them in small holes. I learned in this documentary the cobs will have kernels of all colors if you put a bunch in a hole together.
The first year I planted in this method I found the beans outpaced the corn so the next year I put the corn in the ground on the new moon and the beans and squash in on the full moon. Still the beans outgrew the corn so this year I put the corn in on the full moon and waited until the next full moon to put in the beans. But still the beans are anxious to grow and are as tall as the corn. Next year I will start the corn two moons ahead of the beans meaning I have to start the corn in flats in the house. As much as I like to do this my cat loves to eat corn growing in flats (then loves to puke it up on the bed) so I’ve avoided doing so. But it looks like the corn will have its way.
I quite enjoy watching the garden grow, especially the Three Sisters. I love watching the pollinators pollinate, checking to see each day how much taller and bigger everything has gotten. Seed, sprout, bud, blossom, fruit, and root. All phases are beautiful and serve to remind me of my own journey from seed to root.
(The picture above was taken in 2008)