“The Three Sisters” (Corn, Bean & Pumpkin) – Companion Planting Guild.
Over thousands of years, peoples of South America traded & shared this guild along river valleys, until it merged with peoples in North America. Producing large amounts of surplus, populations were not only sustained – but thrived & grew to what they are today (5).
- Climbing beans.
- Squash or pumpkin.
- Plant 5 CORN PLANTS in the middle.
- Plant 7 CLIMBING BEAN SEEDS around these.
- Plant 5 SQUASH (OR PUMPKIN) SEEDS furthest out.
Guild additions for ‘The Three Sisters’:
Planting in a pit will help rainwater pool & sink into the plant roots. And using a boomerang-shaped berm will channel rainwater overflow to the next planting site. In this way, we maximize the use of rainwater & it’s runoff on slope…
ORGANIC GARDENING & FERTILITY:
Layered mulch (or lasagne gardening) creates organic soil as the garden grows…
Order of placement (ground-layer first):
- Egg cartons = barrier between grass & garden.
- Lucerne hay = adds nitrogen.
- Local forest mulch = adds carbon (leaf litter) & local beneficial fungi.
- Perlite = maximizes growth by reflecting sunlight to the underside of the leaf.
HOW TO CREATE:
- Choose garden bed locations – roll a ball downhill to ensure rainwater runoff capture.
- Dig a pit & use the soil to create a boomerang-shaped berm.
- Lay the garden bed:
- Egg cartons.
- Forest mulch.
- Plant the guild:
- Corn plants.
- Bean seeds.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- The berm.
- The garden bed.
‘THE THREE SISTERS’ MENU
Permaculture Principle = “Obtain a yield”…eat it too!
- Golden cornbread.
- Bean salad.
- Bean cakes.
- Black bean chilli.
- Squash casserole.
- Grilled corn.
- Squash & bean minestrone.
- Spiced creamed corn.
- Kale salad with squash & almonds.
- Corn & zucchini salad.
- Beans, chard & basil.
- Squash tart with fried sage.
- Charred & raw corn with chilli.
- Beans with benne & sorghum.
- Pickled corn.
- Garlicky beans.
- Pumpkin soup.
- Beans & salumi vinaigrette.
- Corn pudding.
- Bean tempura.
- Pumpkin & cashew curry.
Sources: (11) & (12).
- The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. 1996. Map of Indigenous Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/map-indigenous-australia. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- Sunshine Coast Environment Council. 2022. The Geology of the Sunshine Coast. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.scec.org.au/geology_and_climate. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- Seed, J., Macy, J., Fleming, P. and Naess, A., 1988. Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings. New Society Publishers: Vermont.
- Noosa Forest Retreat’s – Permaculture Course Online. 2019. What is Permaculture & How Can it Meet Our Needs?. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.permaculturecourseonline.com/uncategorized/what-is-permaculture-how-can-it-meet-our-needs/. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- Steemit. 2019. True Permaculture-Episode 3: Companion Planting. [ONLINE] Available at: https://steemit.com/permaculture/@open3ye/true-permaculture-episode-3-companion-planting. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- GrowVeg. 2015. Companion Planting: Three Sisters Garden Plans. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.growveg.com.au/guides/companion-planting-three-sisters-garden-plans/. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- Lancaster, B. and Lipkis, A., 2010. Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks (Vol. 2). Rainsource Press.
- Garden Weasel. 2017. 4 Steps to a Lasagna Garden. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gardenweasel.com/4-steps-to-a-lasagna-garden/. [Accessed 27 January 2022].
- Cornell University – Department of Agriculture & Life Sciences. 2017. How to Plant the Three Sisters. [ONLINE] Available at: https://gardening.cals.cornell.edu/lessons/curricula/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/how-to-plant-the-three-sisters/. [Accessed 27 January 2022].
- Pinterest. 2022. Lenape Crops. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/529173024964746960/. [Accessed 27 January 2022].
- bon appetite. 2014. How to Cook with Corn, Beans, and Squash—the Three Sisters. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/corn-beans-squash. [Accessed 26 January 2022].
- Kimmerer, R.W., 2013. Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants. Milkweed Editions.
With special thanks to…
‘The Health Retreat’
(Kiels Mountain, QLD).