Saturday, June 20, 2009

Three Sisters Garden Update

From a distance the Three Sisters Garden looks like it is doing well, but it is having problems. The first is that the weather has been cold and cloudy for all of June and a lot of May. We have had more weather under 70°F(21°C) than over it. This is way below normal for us. Next week's prediction is the same. It is supposed to rain for the next week and be cool. The plants in a Three Sisters Garden are all heat and sun lovers. We have had neither.

Last year I picked my first zucchini on June 15th. This year the biggest of the zucchini plants is Costata Romenesca and it only has two true leaves. It is so small, but it is handling the cool weather better than the other zucchini, winter squash or cucumbers. I think I am just going to have to enjoy lots of peas and lettuce, but I don't know about squash or cucumbers. I was so counting on making pickles this summer. I hope it happens.

The other plants that aren't traditional to a Three Sisters Garden are doing great. My cilantro is very happy and my marigolds are growing like crazy. Their only flaw is that their branches aren't very strong. When we get rain they break off.

Then there is the issue of the corn and the beans. The beans are handling the cold weather with ease. They germinated quickly. They have been growing well. The corn has not. It has been growing very very slowly. It can't keep up. I was afraid of this. If I did nothing the beans would not have support and would overwhelm the corn.

So I went out and bought some 7' bamboo poles (middle row). I bought twelve of them. I also have some other supports that had gone in earlier. The earlier supports were to hold up the beans where the corn had died. I still need about 12 more poles, but at least all the precocious bean plants are now grabbing onto a pole and not the corn. Somehow I think this is not the traditional way to grow a Three Sisters Garden. I wonder how the Native Americans in New England grew their crops. If they grew them in the traditional Three Sisters way, what did they do when hit with cool summers like we are having now?


  1. Can I send you some beans? *grin*

    Why did I plant so many? Today's picking alone gave me nearly 3 pounds of three varieties. Luckily I have two sons who were happy to take 1/3 of today's harvest each. That still leaves me a bunch, as I still have yesterday's picking in the fridge!

    Same with beets. I wanted to plant more for fall, but I'm getting tired of them already. I should have known two people wouldn't eat 150 or more spring planted beets!

    On the other hand, I didn't plant nearly enough lettuce.

  2. Your photos are so sharp, I love veggie photos, but am having a hard time getting any really good ones. Part of the problem is the light where our gardens are situated.

    Now, back on the subject, I am sure the cool weather will turn in your favor soon, and then everything will pick up. The poles are a great idea.


  3. I hope it warms up for you! It's it always a challenge to get everything growing at the expected rate? Not easy...kind of like cooking several dishes at once. My problem right now is whiteflies...I wish I knew an organic solution!

  4. Annie's Granny, wow that is a lot of beans. I hope I get that much in a few weeks. I would love them. You can keep the beets however.

    Muddy Boot Dreams, Thanks. I do hope it warms up. The forecast now is for warmer weather at the end of this week. I can hope.

    Jackie, At least if one thing isn't happy with the weather something else will love it. I just never know what to plant each year.

  5. This springs weather has really been the pits this year. We are warming up next week so I am very happy. Your garden overview is looking very nice.

  6. The weather really has stunk, hasn't it. I'll keep my fingers crossed for your cucumbers and corn and hope for more seasonal temperatures. I'm not attempting to grow those. Your garden layout looks nice and those bamboo supports look good for the beans.