Saturday, June 27, 2009

Three Sisters Update

No, not my three sisters (if you weren't aware, I'm the firstborn of four girls). This blog post is in reference to the Three Sisters garden I planted at my parents' home in Northern Illinois. The Three Sisters method is a Native American gardening technique that involves the mutually beneficial combined planting of corn, beans and squash.

I started my plants from seed, and now, a little over a month later, everything looks pretty good. Below are a few pictures of the progress.

As you may recall, I started with four mounds of clay-heavy soil ammended with mushroom compost and peat moss, planting corn seeds in the center (some with pole beans, some without) and then either squash or melons in outer rings.

Here's a front view of the whole garden:

The following photo is of a bed that includes corn, pole beans, and watermelon. The watermelons are slower growers -- they're much smaller than the squash plants at this point. The same is true of the watermelon plant I'm growing in my own backyard. I'm not sure if this is typical or if I've done something wrong. We shall see, in time.

Below is a photo of the rectangular bed, which includes two mounds. The mound on the left has very large zucchini in the outer ring -- so large, in fact, that it's crowding the slower-growing corn. Today I adjusted the zucchini leaves, pushing them outward to give the corn a bit more room to breathe. The mound on the right includes a mix of honeydew and cantaloupe surrounding the corn. The melons, again, aren't growing at nearly the same rate as the squash.

Below is a picture of my fantastic pumpkins -- this is probably the most successful mound of the four. Still no flowers or fruits, though.

It'll be fascinating to watch how this experimental garden continues to develop. I'll keep you posted!

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