The Q&A Archives: 3 sister gardening

Question: can you plant corn, beans, and squash (3 sister gardening) in a raised bed? If so, how much space in between should I leave?

Answer: A raised bed is perfect for a 3-sisters garden. Beans, corn, and squash are the traditional Native American "three sisters" garden. One planting method is to form mounds of soil about a foot high and 3 feet in diameter, spaced about 3 feet apart from each other. Once the soil has warmed, plant the corn first. Wait two to three weeks before planting the beans and squash, to give the corn a head start. The corn should be at least 3 or 4 inches tall when you plant the others. Traditionally, climbing pole beans were planted--they climb using the corn stalks for support. In turn, the beans fix nitrogen from the air and provide it to the corn. The large leaves of the squashes shade the ground to retain moisture and help keep the weeds down.

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