Got Something to Post?

If you want to add a post to this blog, please email what you'd like to post, including any photos to

About the 6/15 Green Blog

Brooklyn, NY
Welcome to the 6/15 Green community garden blog. This is a place where our community can share stories, poems, photos, memories, recipies, and all other experiences of the garden. For information on 6/15 Green, please see the official website. To share information on the garden or communicate with members, please use the member Google Group.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Three Sisters

I've always been very curious about people in the garden who have tried the three sisters method for planting corn, beans and squash in the space space.  I decided to do a little research to learn how to do it.

On the webiste, Runee's garden, she says, "According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. Growing a Three Sisters garden is a wonderful way to feel more connected to the history of this land, regardless of our ancestry."  (

Most websites advise to plant the corn seeds once we've finished having frost at night.  Once the corn has grown several inches (advice seems to go from 4 to 8 inches), the plant the bean and squash seeds around the corn plants.  As the corn grows, the squash and beans will grow around it.  

Would love to hear comments from any one in the garden who has tried this--were you successful or not?  How does it work in an urban setting like 6/15 green?


  1. THis is the same system I grew up using in the mountains of northern New Mexico, both in gardens and on small river land plots. There we often used native corn varieties, scarlet runners and other local cultivars of runner beans, all kinds of squashes, and also added hot chile peppers to the mix in between the hills--that seems less appropriate to the small spaces of urban garden plots. My grandmother always put a combination of different kinds of well composted manures (cow, chicken, goat) from the ranch into the hole about a foot below the surface prior to planting, whatever the soils were like in that particular spot. Somehow that seemed to give a big push to the plants at just the right moment in mid-summer. I look forward to hearing how your plot works out!

  2. A few summers ago, we dedicated a huge area of the Group Vegetable Garden to the Three Sisters. Each little area needs around a five foot diameter, so not too space efficient for us. We got a lot of sprawling squash plants, some corn and beans, but not a ton of production. I think if we did the bush, not vine-type of squash, it would have been more efficient.

    My belief is that it works best with a lot of land, but in a tight space it's tough. Still, a cool gardening project. for trellising beans, the corn will lose it's integrity after producing ears, so the beans and dried corn stalks will topple over by mid-August. We've used sorghum as a replacement for corn, which keeps it's integrity for most of the growing season.