The crop circle season has started – no, not that sort! I'm talking about our Three Sisters circular mound, which is now planted up and ready to grow, grow, grow!
Here's this year's plan:
Last year's Three Sisters taught me one major lesson – if you put the bean supports at the edge of the circle the rampant growth of the beans shade the sweetcorn (not a good thing especially in one of the dullest summers on record!). The result was massive leafy corn but only one descent sized cob.
This year the corn is in the outer ring with a tall slim wigwam of beans in the centre. In a mad moment I planted dwarf beans Negritos around the outer edge among the corn – A: because they haven't been planted anywhere else and there's not much space left; and B: because they're a Central American bean and I thought they'd get on well with the corn. All the beans have just been pushed into the ground, not germinated and planted out as little plants – an experiment, I've a hunch they'll do just as well if not better.
With apologies for the quality of the picture, this is the result . . .
This years 'Three Sisters' are;
Mrs Fortune's – green pods with purple streaks, reputed to have been a favourite in the vegetable gardens at Windsor Castle
Poletschka – a Ukrainian bean with beautiful indigo coloured beans
Negritos – a dwarf bean with slim green pods producing small black 'turtle beans'
Sweet Nugget and Royalty – both new varieties for me
Chicago Warted Hubbard – an American heirloom variety introduced in 1894, it has browny-orange wrinkled skin and fine-grained orange flesh (my selection from this year's Heritage Seed Library catalogue)
Dulce de Horno – a Spanish variety with green warty skin and very sweet yellow flesh used for desserts (I bought the seed when we were in La Palma)
I decided against growing the seed saved from previous year's home grown squash, they cross pollinate and it's hit and miss that they produce a good crop. Squash take up lots of room and I didn't want to gamble this year, so it's two new varieties – I'm looking forward to testing these :-)