Native Americans have been cultivating crops for thousands of years, and one of their most famous planting techniques is known as the “Three Sisters”. This method involves planting three types of crops together: beans, corn, and squash. The Three Sisters complement each other perfectly, with the beans providing nitrogen to the soil, the corn providing support for the beans to climb, and the squash providing a ground cover that helps to retain moisture and suppress weeds. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the Three Sisters crops and explore some of the most popular and unique varieties.
Beans are an essential component of the Three Sisters planting method. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients, and they are also an excellent way to fix nitrogen in the soil. There are many different types of beans that are used in the Three Sisters planting method, including black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. One of the most popular varieties is the Hidatsa Shield Figure Bean, which is a small, maroon-colored bean that is shaped like a shield. This bean was traditionally grown by the Hidatsa tribe of North Dakota and is prized for its nutty flavor and versatility in the kitchen.
Corn is the second component of the Three Sisters planting method. It provides a natural support structure for the beans to climb, and it also serves as a source of food for both humans and animals. There are many different types of corn that are used in the Three Sisters planting method, including sweet corn, popcorn, and dent corn. One unique variety is the Glass Gem Corn, which is a multicolored corn that looks like it is made of stained glass. This corn was developed by a Cherokee farmer named Carl Barnes and has become incredibly popular among gardeners and corn enthusiasts alike.
Squash is the final component of the Three Sisters planting method. It provides a ground cover that helps to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds. Squash is also a great source of vitamins and minerals, and it can be eaten in a variety of ways, including roasted, sautéed, and mashed. There are many different types of squash that are used in the Three Sisters planting method, including butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin. One unique variety is the Seminole Pumpkin, which is a large, tan-colored pumpkin that was traditionally grown by the Seminole tribe of Florida. This pumpkin has a nutty flavor and a tough skin that makes it an excellent storage crop.
The Three Sisters planting method is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced by Native Americans for centuries. By planting beans, corn, and squash together, these crops are able to complement each other perfectly and thrive in a mutually beneficial relationship. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there are many different varieties of Three Sisters crops that you can try in your own garden. So why not give it a try and see what the Three Sisters can do for you?