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deb k.
user 8829588
Portland, ME
Post #: 13
Does anyone have any advice about growing the 3 sisters? I know the Indians used dried bean and corn varieties for storage, can I do green beans? Hope the deer don't get the corn, but if they do will the stalks still be ok for the beans. I'm not an accomplished gardener at all, but want to keep it simple as possible. Soil is decent, I've gotten 5 trash bags full of seaweed, maybe a bucket of my compost, little manure and a bag of lobster compost. Thought to rake leaves into the mix somehow. Should I omit the newspaper? I really don't want to have to weed or water. I work at Whole Foods, so thought about asking them for fish scraps, can I throw those right in a hole and plant on top? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Also, my brother was telling me how people in the old days used to place piles of rocks in the garden and move them around, which infused the minerals into the soil. Thought this would be a great and simple alternative to the rock dust.
Dan P.
user 57157522
West Newfield, ME
Post #: 20
It will take a long while for the rocks to break down to give you the rock powders. As for using the fish scraps,every carcass eater including your neighbors dog will dig them up and ruin what you have planted. I tried it and even with out a dog around each morning after the planting site was excavated.The fish scraps are best left in a sealed container with water to make a fish fertilizer,but it smells so bad you may not want to use it. The fish scraps can be composted in a wire cage with all your regular organic matter,but the cage needs to be predator proof. Let all of us know how you make out with all of this. Dan
Dan P.
user 57157522
West Newfield, ME
Post #: 21
I'd like to add another comment about fish scraps and growing corn. We all were told that the American Indians planted their corn with fish scraps in the hole under the seed. This was supposed to the way they did it along the Mass.coast .When I lived in Chatham,Mass. my landlord tried it,and my dog dug each one up to roll in it and stank for a month after.The Indians kept dogs so I can't believe they would have used the fish scraps this way. I believe there is a comment about this subject in Philbrick's" The Mayflower",and I'll look for it tonight. Dan
Gorham, ME
Post #: 598
interesting discussion! I am planning on growing several 3 sisters beds this year... possibly 2 straw bale circles with the center *hole* filled with chicken poop and compost for the corn, and beans growing in the straw as well as 2 or 3 squash *hills*'s worth a try at least! The others are going in my expansion veg plot.....6-8 corn plots in 3 sisters style this year.

I've wanted to try 3 sisters for several years, but didn't have room or didn't have corn, this year I decided to definitely dive in......
Shawn M.
user 81283472
Kennebunk, ME
Post #: 1
I believe that the important part about the beans is that they should be pole beans. The mutual benefit is that they will climb the corn and give nitrogen. You can get Pole beans that are green beans. I know that in Europe, it is common practice to fill vineyards (feet deep) with rocks as a way to lengthen the season/ stave off frost. The rocks absorb sunlight and release it slowly as heat sinks. Dark Stoney paths in our gardens should to the same.
Dan P.
user 57157522
West Newfield, ME
Post #: 22
I finally looked it all up in Philbrick's "Mayflower" Thank the author for a comprehensive index. What you want to do is explained on pages 101 and 102. Since it is non fiction,your nearest library should have a copy. According to Nathaniel Philbrick,the Indians used herring. I know that I read some where else that they could not have,but I can't think where and in which book it would have been. Try what you want to do and please report your detailed results here. All growing is an experiment and you have to use what you have. Pole beans for sure.Dan
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 3
It helps to have the timing right on the planting as well. Let the corn get about a foot tall (in my experiance) before planting the beans, and the squash are best stuck in as transplants a foot or two from the corn and beans at the same time as the beans are planted. You can also direct seed the squash just before the beans are planted. Beware the beans like to climb past the top of the corn (try planting tall heirloom corn) and then they bend the corn over and tie the stalks to other corn or beans(giving a few feet between each corn stalk will help deter this). Also vine types of squash like to do the same thing as the beans and tie your corn down. With maintenance this can be avoided, by not allowing the beans or the squash to overload the corn stalk, also you can cut the bean stalks at the height you want them to stop growing, and use non vine summer squash ,not traditional three sisters, I know, but they do work well to shade out the soil, accompmplishing the same thing.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 499
Native Americans growing the 3 sisters actually bred pole beans that wouldn't grow taller than the corn they were growing. Look for these varieties, they are still around!!!
Gorham, ME
Post #: 601
Well, I have started weedblocking the area I plan to use for the 3 sisters garden. My current plan is to not do raised beds. Instead, I plan to make a template of sorts in a square...4x4, and remove the mulch from inside the template, spread out some chicken poop, then fill the rest with around 8 inches of my compost mix, then move the template to the next area. I plan to make a diamond pattern, and will plant the squash, melons, pumpkins on the easet/west corners of each square. I can plant other companions on the north/south corners, with the corn and beans in the center. The diamonds will be staggered to help ensure a good spacing between the squash, etal. Whaddaya all think?

A former member
Post #: 8
Dan, According to a friend who is pretty up on these things ameridians did use fish to fertilize and posted young men on the gardens 24/7 to chase off deer, crows and other wildlife, even to the point of erecting stands for human scarecrows. Adapting to lessons learned I suppose.
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