Three Sisters Guild

Most exciting thing happening around here this week:

 Eeeeeeekkkkkk! The corn in coming up! Three days ago I spotted it when I was crawling on my hands and knees, scouring the ground for any sign of life. I saw these microscopic green spears poking out of the ground. I called to Matt, who came running. Soon we were both on our knees crawling around shouting, “I found another one!”, entertaining all of our neighbors, I’m sure. Now they’re about 1 inch tall. SO excited. Matt and I have been slowly ripping out that weird chunk of land between the street and the sidewalk, in order to make room for growing more vegetables. We love growing food. We’re project people so it’s like an ongoing project and we love to do it together. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of watching seeds sprout into flavorful fruits and veggies.

This year, we’re planting corn, squash and beans together to create a “Three Sisters Guild”. My amazingly knowledgable neighbor gave me the down low on this planting technique developed by Native Americans. These three plants have a symbiotic relationship which allows them to produce more food using less water and fertilizer. The corn stalks create a natural trellis for the beans to climb, while the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which nourishes the corn. The leaves of the squash vines ramble around, preventing the spread of weeds and providing shade for the shallow roots of the corn. You will significantly increase your yield by planting this way.

Our guild…day 10ish:

 Or, for those who care (I hope there is a few of you, because it took me 2 hours to make this picture):

Typically, corn is placed in a mound in the center, surrounded by a ring of beans and then with squash. We really don’t need that much squash and don’t have tons of room for the plant to spread out (we planted butternut in ours, with spaghetti squash growing in our beds down the block for pollination). We decided to lay it out as such in order to let the squash spread out in the center of the lot and down the aisles. The beans surrounding the corn will help shade the outer stalks. We’ve also purposefully picked our measurements for our corn blocks. Corn needs to be planted in large enough blocks in order to pollinate.

 When the corn gets to about knee height, we’ll plant beans. You can see the lovely Butternut Squash coming up as well.  Ugh, I can hardly wait. I want some fresh grilled veggies immediately. Only about 50 days to go. There’s nothing like a vegetable garden to teach you delayed gratification.


18 thoughts on “Three Sisters Guild

  1. this is awesome! i LOVED the diagram, it really helped cause i wasn’t getting a good visual before i looked at it. awesome awesome awsome!

  2. Such a great way to organize and grow your garden! I hadn’t heard about the guild before and look forward to reading more posts as the growing continues.

  3. I had never heard of this method before and I sounds great! I’m looking forward to reading more posts as the growing progresses. The diagram was very helpful!

    • Isn’t it great?! Goes to show how in tune with nature Native Americans were at the time…wish we could have cultivated more than just this harvesting technique with them. Do you guys have a garden Ashley?

      • Unfortunately no garden for us, we don’t have any land around our apartment. IU does have a community garden and we’ve volunteered there a few times. I CANNOT wait until we can start a garden!

  4. Very awesome diagram- and I am not just saying that to make you feel good- I was also having a hard time visualizing it and then there was the diagram to help :)

    • Good….hahaha. I thought of you guys SO much when we were planting this. You guys would have been over helping and Tyler would have been telling me how to plant everything. I wold have appreciated the guidance! But somehow without you, we made it happen. This doesn’t support my theory of “Life can’t go on without the Hales around.”

      • lol- I can’t wait till next summer!!!! When we are back in P-town and you can come over and help us with our little farm- I will need all our chicken advise :)

      • Life can’t go on without them around. Even I brought them up this morning when I told jenna I know someone who goes to yale! (I was wearing my yale shirt). Whenever the Hale’s do return and in the future (when I will hopefully at least have a yard) I will require you all to help me grow yummy food too.

  5. This makes it even harder to wait for our own home (yard)….. Container grown spinach and lettuce will be holding us over this year, i guess. Next year I will be printing this diagram and hoping to enlist some knowledgable helpers though!! :-)

    • I know! How sad you must be…I totally get it. Bet yeah, let’s look on the bright side, by next year you’ll have a guild too! I’ll be there to help.

  6. I think I will plan a visit in about 65 days & see if you have any extras laying around! Makes me long for soil & spare time!!! You do inspire, Ms. Homespun Haley!

  7. you learned about this froma neighbor? Well I paid (am paying) thousands of dollars to have learned this in school. This technique was brought up multiple times in my studies of latin america, I hear it’s a winner :)

  8. Pingback: Guild Update | Homespun Haley.

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