Topic: Vegetables

Corn, Beans, Squash — Planted Together

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Butternut squash is a native crop.

Butternut squash is a native crop.

All photos/art by Heath Robbins

Squash, indigenous to Mesoamerica, has been around for at least 5,000 years. The ancient civilizations of these regions were known to cultivate it, and over time the crop spread north — eventually as far as New England and Canada — and became a staple.

Butternut squash is a native crop.

Butternut squash is a native crop.

Robbins, Heath

In fact, the native tribes referred to corn, beans, and squash as the “Three Sisters,” a trio of crops that complemented one another when planted together in mounds. Corn provided support for the climbing beans; beans fixed nitrogen for the corn and squash; and the low-growing squash crowded out weeds and helped the soil retain moisture (a boon during droughts). For more information, go to: nativetech.org

Comments
  • Out West they call them the 3 sisters and while I can not remember right off there are many reasons they were planted together besides creating a nourishing meal. Rather smart Indians for knowing.

    Reply

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