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.