This is the third year that I’ve planted a Three Sister’s Garden.
The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. The beans grow up the corn, and replace nitrogen to the soil. The leaves of the squash shade the garden to keep weeds from growing and repel insects with their prickly leaves. The three vegetable have all the nutrients people need to sustain them.
I had heard about the Three Sisters Garden when I traveled out west almost 20 years ago, visiting many Native American historic sites. But it wasn’t until I read about it in the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer that I was inspired to grow my own.
Last fall we made the garden bigger (with the help of our neighbor, Vince and his tractor) and covered it with year old donkey manure.
When I turned the soil today, it was full of big, fat earthworms. One sunflower had reseeded itself and three wild strawberry plants made their home in the garden. I left them where they grew and planted the corn, beans and squash in a circle instead of in rows.
Then I filled in the space around them with watermelons, beets, tomatoes, sage, cilantro, and dill.
I also planted some of the sunflowers seeds that someone sent us in memory of Gus. There were enough seeds to spread throughout the yard, so they’ll be growing in a few different gardens.
I also have Ed Gulley’s turtle in the garden. I put him there last year. I like to see the changes around him through the seasons.
I’m lucky to have Jon to do the watering. He much more patient and thorough than I am about it.
Even though this is my third year doing it, I still have a hard time believing those tiny seeds will grow into the big plants and tasty vegetables that we’ll soon be eating.
It continues to feel like a miracle to me.