Well it is after Christmas, so it is time to start looking at what I'm going to grow next year. Some years I don't plan and just grab whatever is available at the local nursery. Since my favorite one (with the best seed selection AND plant selection) closed down, I've decided I have to start growing from my transplants from seed again. So I need a lot more seed that usual. When I really plan things out, I tend to order from a couple of seed houses. My favorite is Pinetree. It is a New England (Maine) company, so fairly local to me. Plus it has seed packets for about a dollar each, so I can get more varieties.
This year (I suppose it is really next year, but in my mind the gardening new year has already begun) I've decided to do more companion planting to try to eek out more veggies from my garden. The first step to this is a three sisters garden. This will take up one of the three main rows in the garden.
I've been wanted to do a three sisters garden for most of last year. I've never done one before, and I always love trying new things. So first off I need corn. Tall corn. Since I haven't grown corn is YEARS, I haven't a clue as to what might do well here. I read the descriptions and picked out "Bon Appetit". My husband doesn't each much from the garden, but he will eat corn and he loves the really sweet corn. I like bicolor corn because it looks pretty. This one matched both requirements. It grows to 80" or just over 6 1/2' tall so it ought to be tall enough to support the beans.
Next are the beans. I will continue to grown Kentucky Wonder beans. I love the taste. They grow like crazy and best of all I still have seed left over. I may plant some left over Fortex beans, but maybe not. Even with those, I can only eat so many green beans. I will have four hills of four corn plants. Each hill will have 6-8 bean plants. One or two hills will meet my green bean needs. The other two hills I will plant dried beans. But which ones? Pinetree doesn't have any good dried pole beans. Nor does Johnnys (another of my favorite places to buy from - but expensive). Seed Saver's Exchange is perfect for dried beans. They have so many wonderful varieties. I love black beans, so Cherokee Trail of Tears seems very appropriately historical. But is my second going to be Brockton Horticultural or True Red Cranberry? Both are historically New England seeds. I've chosen True Red Cranberry because of my love of kidney beans. In a way it seems silly to me to only order two different seeds from a company. The shipping costs almost equal the cost of the seed, but I really really want Cherokee Trail of Tears, so I'm just going to have to put up with the shippng cost. Luckily beans are mostly self pollinating so in future years I can just save seed without much issue.
The third sister is squash. I'm actually going to have some cucumbers on the side, the same cucumbers that did so stellar in my garden last year - Diamant. I'm ordering it from Johnnys. I'm hoping for tons of pickles again. They will grow up and along the fence. The squash I'm growing are two zucchinis and neck pumpkin (really a butternut variety). The first zucchini "Dark Green Zucchini" is left over seed from last year. It was very prolific. The next zucchini is Costata Romanesco. It and the neck pumpkin are supposed to be resistant to the vine borers that are so problematic in my garden. The neck pumpkin I can get from Pinetree, but Costata Romanesco comes from Johnnys. So again I'm ordering just two seed packets from a company. Sigh. At least I'll have a large order from Pinetree. But I'll get to the rest of what I'm planning in a later post.