Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Crop circle

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 :-)


  1. I can't wait to see how your crop circle grows, good luck with the modifications on last years design.

  2. The Climbing beans Poletschka you gave me are coming on a treat - I hope we can plant the little plants this weekend!

    The peas are romping away too - at least the ones in the garden are. The ones on the allotment have been harvested by a muntjac!

  3. I find that it is better to wait until the corn is about a foot or so high before planting some climbers to wind round it. I can't wait to see the end result of your mound, looks wonderful!

  4. At the weekend I re-read all your Three Sisters posts from last year - definitely something which will be incorporated into Bag End next year. Am really enjoying your bloog, thank you

  5. I have only 2 sisters in my combination this year-I am having to grow the corn element behind our high garden walls as badgers destroyed the whole crop, plants, cobs and all on the allotment last year! Nice crop circle.

  6. I didn't have much luck with my beans - only a few of the Poletschka germinated (although are growing vigourously now). Next year I'll put mine straight in the ground! The peas are going mad though (from my seeds saved from last year)

  7. Hi Riannon - it's different every year - the lucky dip ingredient is the weather ;-)

    Hi Dottycookie - I love hearing how your seeds are growing, shame about the muntjac - we have one that visits for the windfall Bramleys in the autumn. If he sniffs out my peas I'm borrowing a shotgun!

    Hi Matron - thanks, I'm feeling smug about that mound! I haven't had success with actually using the corn as the support for the climbing beans - I think in N America they grow a taller stouter corn.

    Bilbo - do have a go. The bonus is that you get some brilliant compost when you dig out the mound after everything has been harvested.

    Hi Threadspider - badgers after the sweetcorn! Crikey!

    Hi Gina - Poletschka will give you lots of beans even with just a few plants.



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