The Three Sisters garden originated with Native Americans, who developed a variety of agricultural techniques. One technique was to grow corn, beans and squash together in a single area. Many Native American tribes believed that corn, beans and squash must be grown together because they are the three inseparable sisters. Indeed, the three plants seem to complement one another quite well, because the beans will cling and vine on the corn plants, and the squash will grow in between the other plants and help to choke out the weeds. Planting and growing a Three Sisters garden is easy and simply takes a little planning.
Find a location that receives full sunlight for at least six to eight hours out of the day. The location should allow for a 10-by-10-foot square of space.
Till your soil with a pitchfork or rototiller in late May or early June, digging down at least 6 inches into the soil. Till organic compost or aged manure into the soil.
Divide your prepared planting site into rows 5 feet apart. Create mounds of soil that are about 18 inches in diameter with flattened tops, ensuring that the center of each mound is 5 feet from the center of the next mound. Try to stagger the mounds in the rows.
Plant four to six corn seeds in a small circle in the center of each mound. Wait until the corn is about 5 or 5 inches tall to plant the beans and squash.
Plant four bean seeds in each mound. Place the bean seeds in between the corn, toward the outer edges of the mounds and about 3 inches away from the corn plants. As the beans grow, the corn stalks will serve as poles for the bean plants to climb upon.
Create mounds of soil for your squash in between the corn-and-bean mounds in the rows. Make the squash mounds the same size as the first mounds. Plant three squash seeds in the mounds, forming a triangle and spacing them 4 inches apart.
Thin the squash down to two plants per mound when the seedlings emerge. Remove all but the strongest of the bean and corn plants as well, leaving about two bean plants and three corn plants in each mound.