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Growing the Three Sisters

Growing the Three Sisters

Mary Smith |

The Three Sisters method of growing is one of many ways to use Companion Planting in your garden.  This method was used by Native Americans and taught to early colonial settlers.


The Three Sisters method is a combination of 3 plants working together:

BEANS: Legumes can deposit nitrogen into the soil from air, in a form that plants can use.  Plant POLE beans and the corn stalks are a great support

CORN: Creates a support system for pole beans and attracts pollinators (see our video).  Plant your favorite sweet corn or popcorn varieties

SQUASH: Both summer and winter squash will work and will shade the soil to provide a healthy growing environment.

Additional companion varieties for a Three Sisters garden include Sunflowers, bee balm, nasturtium and basil.

Last year, our Three Sisters Garden included Glass Gem Corn, Dakota Black Popcorn, Blue Lake Bush Bean, Royalty Purple Podded Bean (I know, I used bush beans), Ronde De Nice Squash and Yellow Scallop Squash.

Below is the beginning of one of our Three Sisters beds with corn, beans and squash. It's an amazing way to grow whether you have a small space or large garden.


If you're growing starters to transplant into your garden, we offer quite a few tips, tutorials and videos to help you get started.



Keep in mind that shade is not a friend to Squash.  This is why we plant squash on the outer perimeter of our Three Sisters Garden.  All 3 varieties are generally heat tolerant so they should be fine in full sun.  Because our gardens are in raised beds, they are typically planted in lines.  If you are growing in ground or have a larger area you can grow then in mounds if you prefer.


Growing Tutorials





If you have additional questions please give us a call or email

Happy Planting!


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I’m doing this this year and it’s amazing so far. I haven’t had to spray anything and my garden is growing so fast. Thanks!!

Kathy Embrey,

I am very interested in planting this way next year! Can this be done for a fall garden in N Florida?


Your 3 Sisters planting looks like a great way to save space and increase nutrients for the corn and squash! I still need to finish planting my garden…if it ever dries out enough!

I hope you’ll stop by and share your post on Farm Fresh Tuesdays this week!

Lisa Lombardo,

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