Three Sisters Gardening – Sustainable Prepper Gardening



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Join Yolanda Vanveen of www.howtogardenvideos.com at beautiful Fort Vancouver Historical Gardens in Vancouver, Washington as she discusses Three Sisters Gardening. Three Sisters Gardening is a traditional method of companion planting gardening using corn to support the vines of squash and climbing beans. It is a popular sustainable method because the beans provide nitrogen to the soil which in turn benefits the other plants. Gardeners are going back to tradtional methods in their prepper and organic gardens.

The three main agricultural crops used by various Native American groups in North America are squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans (typically tepary beans or common beans). In one technique known as companion planting, the three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops.Each mound is about 30 cm (12 in) high and 50 cm (20 in) wide, and several maize seeds are planted close together in the center of each mound. In parts of the Atlantic Northeast, rotten fish or eels are buried in the mound with the maize seeds, to act as additional fertilizer where the soil is poor. When the corn (maize) is 15 cm (6 inches) tall, beans and squash are planted around the maize, alternating between the two kinds of seeds.

The three crops benefit from each other. The corn (maize) provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the human body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore maize and beans together provide a balanced diet.

Native Americans throughout North America are known for growing variations of Three Sisters gardens. The milpas of Mesoamerica are farms or gardens that employ companion planting on a larger scale. The Anasazi are known for adopting this garden design in a drier environment. The Tewa and other Southwest tribes often included a “fourth sister” known as “Rocky Mountain bee plant” (Cleome serrulata), which attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash.

Please favorite our website http://www.howtogardenvideos.com/

You can learn more sustainable gardening tips and tricks at our site How to Garden Videos http://www.howtogardenvideos.com/ To keep up with or latest videos please “Like” us How to Garden Videos on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/HowToGardenVideos
Twitter: https://twitter.com/howtogardenvids
Follow Yolanda on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/yolanda.vanveen

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