Friday, May 31, 2013
Two Sisters Planting
It's a great idea, and I'm sure someone can get it to work, but I never have. If I plant all three crops at the same time, the squash shades the corn when it is young, the beans grow faster than the corn (knee high by the Fourth of July, and all that), and I wind up with a tangled mess.
Of course, one should always be wary of trying techniques that have been passed down in that sort of lore. After all, the same type of story of the first Europeans in America also has the Native Americans giving the absolutely ridiculous advice to put not one but three whole fish in each corn-planting hole. Now, I will readily believe that the Pilgrims were told to enrich their soil with fish heads, tails, and guts, as fish is one of the best soil amendments around, but if anyone ever said to put perfectly-edible fish in their corn rows, I hope they followed that suggestion with the words "April Fool!"
Anyway, since "three sisters" doesn't work for me, I thought I'd try "two sisters" this year. I planted my rows of corn, using a new hybrid that is meant for small spaces and gardens, and then I planted butternut squash between the rows, not in the same holes. So far, the two crops are getting along famously. (This picture was taken about a week ago, so I'm further along than it looks.) I might very well do a late planting of beans in July, once the corn passes that "knee high" point, but right now I'm hopeful that I will be able to get at least two crops in the space intended for one.
What traditional planting methods have you tried? Have you had to alter them at all?
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 4:07 PM