3 Sisters Indigenous Gardening Technique (Vlog)

in #homesteading5 years ago (edited)

Today I am highlighting one of the oldest and most well known polycultures; the 3 sisters.

Although there are more than 3 elements, the core trio is corn, beans and squash. In American Indigenous agriculture these 3 crops provided the basis of the cultivated diet (wild foods of course played a significant role.) There are stories, history and culture enmeshed in this planting system which I am not qualified to speak of, although they play a significant role in American indigenous cosmology and worldview.


There are other crucial elements like chiles, marigolds, chia, amaranth and others included in some systems, but the foundation is the well known trio. They work together in symbiosis both in the garden and in the diet. The beans provide nitrogen which corn needs, and the corn provides a trellis that the beans need. The squash sprawls out, cooling the soil and suppressing weed growth.

Nutritionally the corn and beans have complimentary amino acid profiles, meaning together they create a complete protein complex.

The squash provides much needed storable vitamins as well. Other elements such as sunflowers provide food (an important source of oil), nectar for pollinators and habitat for beneficial insects. We also use them as a trellis.

We decided to plant this glass gem corn passed on by a dear friend in honor of all those who have come before us who have tended the soils, related to plants and worked with cycles of nature.

This corn is an heirloom open pollintated variety of multi colored glassy kernels used for grinding and popping. We pay our respects to all the indigenous gardeners and plant breeders who have related to these plants for 1000s of years. I am deeply grateful for all those plant people who came before and worked tirelessly to create the rich diversity of plants we enjoy today.

Beans on the left and purslane on the right.

Join me as I walk you through our small 3 sisters patch.


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Great video, love the 3 sisters concept, amazing the way it really works! Well done!

Thanks! It's thousands of years of relationships and connection that brought this into being. Natural systems are always inspiring to me.

I love how you can create such wonderful things with the simplicity of mother nature... she set things up pretty well for us :)

True true. There's a lot of connections and abundance if we listen, learn and explore. In permaculture speak it's said the only limit to system yields is imagination.

Those uneducated savages knew a few things...

they knew everything. it was the idiots who came here to colonize who were the savages.

The plants look cozy togther!

They seem to be getting along nicely indeed.

I learned about the 3 sisters concept a Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK near where I live. The museum itself is filled with American Indian artifacts, but it also boasts a large garden in the front area. One of the guides pointed out the concept of the 3 sisters and I (and my grandchildren) were fascinated. Our forebears give us so much wisdom if we will but listen! Thanks for sharing @mountainjewel.

that's great to hear you learned about it in this way. yes, honestly, we must "step on each other's shoulders" in this way.... otherwise, each generation we're just starting over. so cool to learn from those who come before us!!

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