Welsh Girl's Allotment

Hello World,(a bit ambitious as only my mam knows I am here yet !) This is my blog detailing my quest for an allotment, its cultivation and hopefully bountiful crops. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE COMMENTS, EVEN IF IT IS ONLY A HELLO !!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Three Sisters Bed

Firstly apologies if you have come to this post via an internet search expecting saucy pictures of three young ladies ... this post is all about gardening - native american style !

I first heard of this planting scheme on Carol Kleins Grow your Own Veg programme over the winter. It is a system of planting developed by the Iroquios Indians, the sweetcorn, climbing beans and squashes are interplanted and all benefit each other.

The women firstly drew up mounds of earth approximately one foot high and three feet across, into this the sweetcorn seeds are planted, once they have established themselves the beans go in and when they get going the squash are planted on the outside and they all get along merrily, with the beans using the sweetcorn for support and the squashes acting as ground cover to suppress weeds and retain some moisture in the soil.

I quite like the idea of being able to get so many crops in a small space and I also like the idea of non regimented style of planting, military straight rows don't really do it for me - even with sticks and string I can still plant wonky lines !!

However as usual I decide to implement an idea without much fore thought - I planted my Cherokee Trail of Tears beans last week along with my squashes and have only put the sweetcorn in this morning, but I have spare seeds so I can still get one bed going this year as a trial and if it is sucessful I can expand it for next year.


At 12:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How will you pick your sweetcorn when they're all wrapped up with the beans around them?

At 12:55 pm, Blogger welsh girls allotment said...

Oooh told you I'm not very good at planning !!

I imagine you could nip out the tops of the beans when they get to a certain height to prevent them snarling up the sweetcorn too much or perhaps you can encourage them to wrap around in different style !

Watch this space for the next few months a we will see how things pan out !

At 4:39 pm, Blogger lilymarlene said...

Thanks for leaving a note on my blog!
I'll copy here what Carol Klein says in her "Grow Your Own Veg" book, and omits to say everytime she demonstrates the method on telly.....!
Page 194...."but this works only if you are growing both beans and corn for drying, and can harvest by chopping the whole lot down at the end of the season."

If you want me to explain further about my disappointment with the method get in touch through my blog.

At 7:34 pm, Blogger Matron said...

I have done the "three sisters" thing for a few years now. One piece of advice is to wait until your corn is at least a foot tall until you plant a runner bean seed beside it. Otherwise the bean grows much faster and smothers it. Once the corn is well away the bean will soon climb up.

At 8:24 pm, Blogger lilymarlene said...

I've done a post about my findings like you asked. I'd like your comments on it when you've a minute, thanks!

At 8:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried this last year and it was a dismal failure. The corn started out quite happily, but then the beans took off, connected all the corn stalks together into one tangled mass and rugby-tackled the weakest, bringing them down to the ground. Meanwhile the courgettes were establishing themselves fairly well, considering how dense the foliage above them was becoming, but there was no way, short of throwing in a friendly Brer Rabbit, of getting in there to pick them. It was also impossible to carry out any slug control in the middle, so this just turned into a happy feasting and breeding ground from where they would stage night-time raids on the rest of the vegetable garden. Avoid.

At 11:14 am, Blogger another voice in the crowd said...

Love the blog girls - I'm going to add it as a link to my own! Carol Klien's TV series one of the sources I've been using as well...

You've got a really big plot. I'm most impressed by your onions. I'm trying to grow mine from seed with very slow results so far. And my slug traps seem to be getting more beetles than slugs but I don't think I'm reflling them enough - any tips?

You can find me at www.adventureswithveg.blogspot.com


At 6:12 pm, Blogger AllotmentBoss said...

Chris (another voice in the crowd) - I think you need to make your slug traps stand a little higher in the ground. Raise them up so that the rim is about 1-2" above soil level. That should stop them collecting so many beetles.

I've never done the three sisters thing because I could never figure out how the whole harvesting thing worked. However, this post now makes it clear - it doesn't! So, this year I'll stick to two sisters (sweetcorn and squash) and use a few bucket loads of home grown compost to fill in, as usual, for the third sister.

Good blog, by the way.

At 1:14 pm, Blogger Greenfingers said...

Hmmm, I had planned to do a similar thing myself this year, might have a change of heart and make it a 2 sisters bed - sweetcorn and squash. I'll let you know if it works

At 4:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we have allotments in leicester me and a friend the twl leicester lasses
we have done the rhubarb water but now seem to have things growing in it they look like very large maggotts any idea what they might grow into ? help !!
gaynor & les


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