Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Gardening 101 ~ 3 Sister Crops
This technique is one way the companion crops help one another and the soil. The Corn creates a pole for the Beans to grow up. The Squash leaves are considered a "living mulch", blocking sunlight to the earth creating less weeds and keeping moisture in the ground. The pricklier leaves were to keep bugs away as well. The Beans add nitrogen to the soil, exactly what the Squash needs. A gardening class we took also brought up this method explaining you have to keep up on it for it to be successful.
Last Summer we tried this method...we did try to keep up with it. I would NOT recommend this and we will NOT ever do it again.
We found it a complete mess. Pole Beans tend to go anywhere. We continuously go out and check where our Pole Beans are wandering and help guide them back to the fence. It was nearly impossible to do this with the Corn Stalk. The Squash did not get enough light due to the Corn Stalk and Pole Beans to get many blooms. We also get the lovely Japanese Beetles. They typically only go to our Pole Beans. We found they are not harmful to this plant. They just devour the leaves leaving only the veins of the leaf. It sort of looks pretty actually. They have not caused any harm to the actual beans. The Japanese Beetles have never affected our Corn, except last year when the Pole Beans grew on it. The Japanese Beetles do not allow the Corn to develop, therefore we get stumpy stalks not worth eating or even picking. They do not even develop fully.
The picture below is our section of 3 Sister Crops. What a mess! It may work on paper and some people may have success, but we did not.