How about a Two Sisters garden?

Yeah, I know it’s meant to be a Three Sisters Garden but we’ve had such rotten luck with squash due to squash vine borers that I decided to skip the squash.  Let’s see how it goes with corn and black-eyed peas.  I didn’t realize when buying them but the black-eyed peas seem to be a bush variety.  Traditional Three Sisters Gardens employ pole beans but the bush variety suites me fine, as last time I tried this the pole beans overwhelmed the corn and pulled it to the ground.  I believe for that last attempt the beans were planted at the same time as the corn.  This didn’t let the corn get tall enough before the beans started climbing up.  This time I gave the corn a head start, but it seems it won’t matter if these peas never develop any climbing tendrils.

This first photo was taken on June 17th.  The corn must have been planted around the 7th of June and the beans around the 12th or 13th of June.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas.  June 17th.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas. June 17th.

A Three Sisters Garden is a form of intercropping, or companion planting, practiced by Native Americans for hundreds of years.  The idea is to grow corn, beans, and squash in the same area using the properties of all the plants to gain a larger yield than growing them separate.   The corn grows tall and provides a structure for the beans to climb up.  The squash provides a ground cover to retain moisture.  The beans have bacteria in their roots that fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available for all the plants in the system.  This planting utilizes a small portion of that synergy.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas.  June 22nd.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas. June 22nd.

The peas and the corn shouldn’t compete for nitrogen.  Black-eyed peas also enjoy the partial shade given to them by the corn.  The peas will shade the soil even further to help retain moisture.  Anything to break a monoculture planting up a little has to help as well.  I believe once the peas flower they should help bring in predatory insects to combat pests.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas.  July 1.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas. July 1.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas.  July 12.

Corn 'n black-eyed peas. July 12.

Updates will all have two sisters as the tag.

About Stalk of Fennel

I like to grow stuff I can use!
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