August 1, 2014
I tried to plant a 3-sister’s garden with corn, pumpkin, and pole beans.
You are supposed to plant the corn first. Then, when the corn is 4 inches tall, you are to plant the beans and squash.I let the corn get too tall so none of the pumpkin produced and only a few beans climbed the corn. Raccoons got into the corn – ate most of it, in fact. The only corn that was untouched were the ones with beans climbing up them.
So this year, I tried again. Being 8mo pregnant at corn planting time, I knew there was a good chance I would be unable to plant the beans and squash when the corn reached 4 inches tall so I just planted all of the corn, beans, and squash at the same time.
I planted twice as many seeds as needed because you never know what germination is going to be. I learned my lesson. Only one seed per hole next time. I would rather have spotty germination, which has never been an issue, than a crowded spot that gets less sun and therefore produces poorly.
Because everything was planted at the same time, the beans shaded out the corn. I had to pull some beans later in order to give some of the corn a chance.
Eventually, the beans did what I planned for them to do. There was one mishap in which a bean vine choked a corn cob but it only happened to one of them so it was not a big deal.Most of the squash was decimated by squash bugs. Only one spaghetti squash survived (barely) and one butternut squash is still going strong. The cucumber plants did well. I have always grown cucumbers up a trellis with not much luck. This year, I planted them in the shade of the corn and sunflowers and they have done so well! Yay! 🙂 The point of the squash is to suppress weeds. Weeds are not much of an issue with a Back to Eden garden and the squash kind of just got in the way. I may just do beans and corn next year.
When it came time to pollinate, we had a huge storm (a couple, actually). Most of the pollen was blown away. Subsequently, most ears are not pollinated on the bottom of the ear, many have spotty pollination, and some are not pollinated at all. Also, most of the stalks fell. Most of those righted themselves but about 1/6? remained fallen.
We were picking and eating the corn as needed until the other night…Raccoons. Who needs to worry about climbing stalks when they’re laying on the ground?! They got about 8-10 ears. Sad 😦 So we went ahead and ripped up all of the corn and beans. The beans were just to deter the raccoons. I left the butternut squash and cucumber plants. Everything else was ripped up, cleaned up and chicken compost was raked in.
- Plant ONE seed/hole.
- Plant dry beans (pinto/black) with corn, so as to not waste seeds (both can be harvested at the same time).
- Maybe forgo planting squash?
- I ripped up all of the corn and beans and the kids hauled it to the chickens. (butternut squash plant and cucumber plants were left)
- I spread compost over the whole patch (two bucketfuls) and raked it in.
- I marked off (with sticks) a square in the middle of the patch (6’x7′) to plant carrots & beets.
4. I placed carrot seed mats (per the late, great Granny) down and covered them with compost lightly so they would not blow away. 5. I planted peas on the border of half of the patch (2 ft all the way around). I will plant the rest of the border of the patch in a week or so in order to space out the pea harvest this fall. 6. I covered all of the seeds completely with compost, tamped them down… 7. and covered with mulch. I covered the carrots lightly, to just hold in moisture. The peas could be covered a bit more heavily. I will plant the second half of the corn patch with more peas and carrots and beets in a week or so. My thought is that I will be able to harvest the peas easily all the way around as two feet is not a far reach and the root crops will be ready to be harvested by the time the peas are ready to be ripped out. Hopefully it works out — I’ll let you know! 😀