7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Three Sisters

Our earliest forefathers came to this land knowing nothing about how to survive here and bringing little with them. But they learned. Much of what they learned about food they learned from the natives. There were many new and strange plants here that the natives had been eating and cultivating for generations.

Corn was a staple for many tribes, as were beans and pumpkins. In fact, these three crops were grown together and called "The Three Sisters." They compliment each other on more than just the dinner table. 

Corn is a grass that grows on a sturdy frame and needs plenty of nitrogen to prosper. Beans are a legume, taking nitrogen from the air and depositing it into the soil. But beans need something to support them as they grow. Both corn and beans thrive best when their roots are kept modestly moist and partially shaded. Pumpkins have broad, prickly leaves that provide shade and also help repel certain pests, like raccoons, who do not like to walk over them. 

Learning how to work with nature to provide for their survival is what kept the early settlers alive. But it also change the world. Foods found native here, like The Three Sisters, were carried back across the ocean and cultivated there as well. And while many people think of potatoes belonging to the Irish, in fact, they were taken back to Ireland from our own Colonial shores.


  1. Peggy, thanks for sharing. I have heard about the "three sisters" before and always thought that was an interesting way to grow crops, wondering why we don't do that now (at least I have not heard of it being done). I did not know potatoes from our Colonial shores were sent to Ireland.
    Blessings, Tina

  2. Pegg, I knew about the combined growing but I didn't know it was referred to as The Three Sisters! So interesting! I first saw this in practice at Plimoth Plantation in MA. Thanks for the post!

  3. My granddad grew his melons in with this corn. It makes perfect sense! But he grew bush beans, not pole beans. Bush beans have become the more popular choice. I grew pole beans because with my knee injury a few years ago, it's easier for me to pick them standing up. :)

  4. Very cool! We are a huge fan of corn, though it takes a little more effort to get it to grow where we are at. We usually grow beans and pumpkins as well, so I might have to reorganize my garden this year. (we can't plant any of those until mid May here in Alberta)

    1. We plant nothing until after Mother's Day here either. Some years, the ground isn't really warm enough until June! I grow summer squash, but don't usually try pumpkins or winter squash because it's a crap shoot whether or not the season will be long enough for them to mature.


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