Three Sisters Facts


RE: proven spacing and planting sequence for interplanted dent corn, 
climbing beans and squash/pumpkins

I'm beginning a Bio-Intensive micro-farming effort with an agency that 
builds community for adults with developmental disabilities. Indian Creek 
Community Farm is near a creek on a site used for many generations as a 
Lenni Lenape camp. To honor the heritage of these earlier farmers, and to 
demonstrate the genius of biodiversity and the biologically based IPM 
potential of intercropping, we devoted a bed to the Three 
Sisters--heirloom corn, beans and pumpkins--in 1996, our maiden year.

Results were mixed, I think because I had things too close together and 
our soil--sod last year--was not fertile enough or healthy enough for the 
high demand placed upon it. Who has experience in the Mid-Atlantic 
region with this kind of interplanting? My beans nearly overwhelmed the 
corn when I planted both at the same time--actually transplanted them 
into the bed after starting seed in trays. Should I wait with the beans?

The same heirloom dent corn seed (from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) 
that produced sad ears at ICCF did much better in my home garden, which 
is four years into a Bio-Intensive regime.

ICCF soil is a reddish clay/shale base of modest fertility, the soil 
maps say. We are located in western Montgomery County about 20 miles 
northwest of Philadelphia.  

Are there people, books or legends I can consult? Thanks.

Greg Bowman, Editorial Director 
Rodale Institute
611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown PA 19530-9749
phone 610.683.1487
fax 610.683.1494
HOME: gbowman@fast.net

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