The Three Sisters companion planting method for growing maize (corn), beans, and squash was developed and used by Native Americans over a thousand years ago as a beneficial way to grow their three main agricultural crops together. They used variations on the approach throughout North America, with regional variations used to adapt to local growing conditions.
A benefit of this approach, besides efficient use of growing space, is that the squash provides a living mulch that covers the ground and helps to control weeds and conserve moisture. The corn provides a trellis for the beans, and the beans provide nutrients by fixing nitrogen in the soil. An additional benefit of the squash is that it may help deter raccoons, as they reportedly don’t like the prickliness of the squash vines scratching their sensitive feet and legs.(more…)