BN130A - Three Sisters Mix
Corn, beans, and squash have been grown together for centuries in the Americas, and for good reason: they naturally work in concert with each other. Corn provides a growing support for the beans, which in turn provide nitrogen for the corn and squash. The large leaves of the squash provides shade that help to conserve moisture in the soil and control weeds. The seeds of each type of vegetable can also be saved from year to year, provided they are isolated from cross-pollination.
All three plants are heat lovers, so wait until the soil has warmed up in late spring when the soil is consistently 18°C (65°F) to direct sow. Start by planting the corn seeds 30cm (12") apart in as close to a grid shape as possible. Sow the bean seeds outside the perimeter of this grid. Sow the squash seeds at the corners of the grid so they are also 30cm (12") from the nearest corn seed.
Alternatively, start all the seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before planting out, and aim for the same kind of spacing. It may look sparse at first, but these are fast growing plants. They are all heavy feeders, so they do best in rich soil amended with organic fertilizer.
- A special blend of corn, beans and squash in one packet
- Open-pollinated seeds
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How To Grow
These big plants will grow in almost any soil, but getting the cob to mature is another matter. The maturity of the ears (cobs) is not controlled by the size of the plant, nor by day-length, but by the accumulated heat the plant has had while it grew. They call this the “heat units”. Only temperatures above 50 F count after the last killing frost of spring. Temperatures above 50 F add up to create the heat units. Corn plants generally grow very tall, and will shade other vegetables. Some plants will benefit from this shade, such as lettuce, but heat-loving plants must be placed so that the corn does not shade them. This heavy-feeding plant also provides a stalk for plants such as Pole Beans. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Corn from seeds Guide and grow food.