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What’s a Three Sisters Garden Bed?

The concept for one of our garden beds comes from an Iroquois tradition. The tradition is based on the relationship of corn, beans and squash that thrive when grown together.  Corn is planted first for beans to climb up and squash is used to keep weeds down as well as conserve moisture. Beans fix the nitrogen which fertilizes the soil for the other two plants to take up as nitrates. The Iroquois Museum has some history, facts and recipes, based on this planting partnership.

At the Ken Spencer Science Park, our Three Sisters garden bed is growing incredibly well. Healthy seedlings, combined with soil amended by composted horse manure, have created an abundance of food. The only hiccup came when our corn didn’t do as well as expected. To adapt the Three Sisters tradition to our situation, we planted sunflowers to support the beans.

So far we’ve donated 8kg of produce to the food bank from this bed alone. We plan to have much more zucchinis, beans, acorn squash, sunflower seeds and the iconic Turks Turban squash to harvest and donate.

We will keep some of these veggies for our seed-saving workshops in the Ken Spencer Science Park, planned as part of the Around the Dome in 30 Days science festival that begins September 28.

Check out the pollinating bees on the sunflowers and in the zucchini flowers!