What Is a Three Sisters Garden?

4 Apr

This year we’ll plant a Three Sisters Garden in one of the raised garden beds. The three sister crops are corn, squash, and beans.  These plants are grown together as part of a crop management system used by Iroquois and other indigenous peoples for hundreds of years.

Corn, Squash, and Bean Plants Help Each Other Grow

Like close sisters or siblings, the plants support and help each other. These companion plants complement each other in the garden as well as on the plate (nutritionally)

The Three Sister Plants Thrive and Survive Together

Here’s how

  • Corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb so that they are not out-competed by sprawling squash vines.
  • Climbing pole beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil while also stabilizing the tall corn and hugging everything together. (Beans are nitrogen-fixers that host rhizobia on their roots that can take nitrogen, a much needed plant nutrient, from the air and convert it into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots.)
  • The large leaves of squash plants shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. These leaves are prickly, and are said to deter pests like raccoons, who do not like to step on them.

This method of planting, companion planting, is considered sustainable, as it gives back to the earth the nutrients that it removes from the soil.

Join the Family Fun!

We will plant this raised bed in phases, starting with the corn on Saturday April 10th at 1030am. (RSVP to cvearthlab@gmail.com — These are much appreciated, to allow for social distance planning). Check the calendar of events for more on the spring timeline.

Three Sisters Garden Resources

Look through these links to learn more about the Three Sisters

Cornell Garden-Based Learning: Three Sisters and Planting a Three Sisters Garden PDF

The Three Sisters: Corn, Beans, and Squash: How to Plant a Three Sisters Garden (from The Farmer’s Almanac)

–In Benji’s elementary school, third graders planted this as part of science class.

The Three Sisters Garden Guide

Three Sisters Companion Planting


10 Responses to “What Is a Three Sisters Garden?”

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen April 5, 2021 at 12:38 PM #

    When the kids were small, we always made a three sisters pyramid, and they were delighted with the stories.

  2. Stefan April 30, 2023 at 3:25 AM #

    Very interesting article, this year I will try to plant by the method of three sisters. Thank you very much!


  1. Spring 2021 Garden Happenings & Activities | Concord Village EarthLab - April 4, 2021

    […] We will prep the bed, build mounds of soil, and plant corn. For more –> The Three Sisters Garden […]

  2. Come Plant Corn Sat 10:30am | Concord Village EarthLab - April 9, 2021

    […] The three sister crops are corn, squash, and beans.  These plants are grown together as part of a crop management system used by Iroquois and other indigenous peoples for hundreds of years. […]

  3. Upcoming Garden Activities & Events, Spring 2021 | Concord Village EarthLab - April 11, 2021

    […] Plant Sister 2 of 3 Sisters Garden (Pole beans) For more–> The Three Sisters Garden […]

  4. CV’s Three Sisters Garden Is Underway! | Concord Village EarthLab - April 13, 2021

    […] to the 8 kids (and their parents) who came out to get the Three Sisters Garden started Saturday. We planted corn, the first sister of the three sisters garden, and put in some […]

  5. Plant Potatoes & Beans This Sun 3pm | Concord Village EarthLab - April 24, 2021

    […] beans will be Sister # 3 in the Three Sisters Garden. They will grow alongside the corn and […]

  6. Garden Happenings: Late April Update | Concord Village EarthLab - April 25, 2021

    […] plant Sister 3 of the Three Sisters Garden (beans) in the dedicated Three Sisters Garden bed; help plant blue seed […]

  7. Today, 3:00-3:30pm, Potato + Bean Planting! | Concord Village EarthLab - April 25, 2021

    […] beans will be Sister # 3 in the Three Sisters Garden. They will grow alongside the corn and […]

  8. The Three Sisters Garden Looks Great! | Concord Village EarthLab - July 6, 2021

    […] bean runners climb higher and corn stalks grow taller. Its not shown here, but the flowers on the 4th Sister, the sunflower, have started to open. Way to go, […]

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