The Three Sisters

Native American Three Sisters from Renees Garden

This week at Dirt to Dinner each group of kids got to learn about and planted their own Three Sisters garden. We are using seeds from Renee’s Garden that include Earth Tones Indian Dent Corn which we will later grind into cornmeal, Scarlet Runner Beans, which the kids–and the pollinators around the garen–will like, and Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

The pattern for our garden also comes from traditional sources. This week when we were all together, the kids dug compost into the bed and formed the first set of mounds we’ll use, the corn mounds. Next time we are together, in about two weeks, they will form a second series of ammended mounds, this time for the squash. (The beans get planted in the corn mounds.)

Here’s the wonderful diagram from Renee’s that demonstrates the process so much better than I could write it out.

We actually have two patches because we are testing a way to get more light into the garden with one of the planting beds and using the other as a control, so we also have a tomato patch worked into the mix to separate the two Three Sisters beds. There is a demonstration bed of six different tomato varieties that divides the light augmented plot from the control plot. This already looks so different from the endless acres of monoculture corn rows I grew up with in Ohio. I can’t wait to see how it grows!

corn-pouchTo celebrate the corn planting the kids also made corn pouches which will sprout a sample of the Indian Dent Corn and a sample of the monoculture corn plated across those fields in Ohio and allow us to talk about genetic variation and why it’s important to have plant diversity.

Then they prepared a beautiful lunch that included mini corn muffins and an artful display of finger foods with yogurt dip and hummus.

All in all, a very satisfying day!

3 thoughts on “The Three Sisters

  1. Could you post a bigger picture of the back of that seed packet? :) I can’t seem to figure out what it says and I think that a bigger picture would help. I want to plant the three sisters and need a good plan to do it.

  2. Susan Ryan told me about your site — this sounds like a wonderful project! I love the light test beds.

    It appears that all people who are serious about growing food are secret scientists. Experiments get tried, results noted, and the data get eaten!

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