All of last years compost has been transferred to the 'Three Sisters' mound, the recent rain has given it a good soaking and the rich mix is warm and ready for planting.
The 'Three Sisters' – corn, squash and climbing beans – have been grown in pots and now it is warm enough for them to be planted out.
So it's time for part 2 of Magic Cochin's method of growing The Three Sisters . . .
(Continuing from part 1)
The climbing beans are supposed to be supported by the stems of the corn, but I think that this is only feasible if the corn is the sort that grows 'as high as an elephant's eye', so my beans will have a teepee frame of three tall willow poles with some extra smaller sticks for supports. The bushy plants on the edge of the mound are self-seeded clumps of lemon balm and oregano, both of which have flowers which will attract bees and other pollinating insects, so they have been allowed to stay!
Sweetcorn: Germination was excellent this year, so as I have masses of corn plants I'm planting more than in previous years. Sweetcorn is wind pollinated and needs to grow in a block in the centre of the mound, I've planted 17 plants of 'Honey Bantam' spaced about 20cm apart.
Squash: I had to be sensible and choose just one plant of the three varieties of squash – 'Winter Festival', 'Marina di Chioggia' and an un-named dark orange variety. This year all have been grown from home-saved seed, and as squash freely cross-pollinate these may not be like the parent plants. So it will be a case of wait and see! The three plants are planted between the block of sweetcorn and the edge of the mound and inbetween the bean poles.
Beans: These have been grown from home saved seed of the Ukrainian climbing beans 'Poletschka' which did so well in the garden last year. I've planted 2 plants either side of the main poles and a plant next to each supporting stick – that's 12 plants altogether. These will be encouraged to climb up to the apex of the teepee, as they start to grow they may need tying in with string to point them in the right direction.
Part 3 will show how to train the beans and squash shoots as they grow