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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Three Sisters Square Foot garden

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Post  GWN 6/12/2013, 1:40 am

Thanks Turan, that is so interesting.
I have an extremely healthy sunflower that has a stalk that is about an inch across at the base. It grew out of the previous compost area. It is more of a small tree. I have planted a vining squash next to it for other reasons. I am just thinking I should just plant some beans around that sunflower stalk.

My grain mill is a stone grinder and as I recall the instructions said something about what NOT to grind. (perhaps it was corn)
Perhaps I will find another way.

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Post  GWN 6/12/2013, 10:53 am

Here is a picture of my sisters garden "sans beans"   they are not up yet. I am using the very very old seeds I was given from a collection. These beans are black spaghetti beans that supposedly have VERY long pods.  I have managed to sprout many of these seeds in other situations and so I thought I would try them here.
Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 Img_1120

as you can see a grape vine is trying to get into the picture
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Post  quiltbea 6/12/2013, 11:09 am

FamGard and GWN, lookin' good with yours.
My Quickie corn is just starting to sprout.  I plan to put in some bean seeds when they are about 4-5" tall.  I'm not sure yet what to do about the squash.  Maybe a pattypan type in a couple corners?  It seems like its going to be terribly crowded with the squash added.   I have sugar peas growing in the north 4 squares and all doing great.
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Post  walshevak 6/13/2013, 12:49 am

Josh sent me some sunflower seeds as part of my big veggie award.  I put 1 each in the four middle squares of my melon bed thinking they would get tall and not interfere with my melons being trained onto the cattle panels.  After planting my pole beans I had 4 seeds left so I stuck them in beside the sunflowers.  Two sprouted.  So we will see what happens.

Kay

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Post  Dunkinjean 6/13/2013, 9:22 pm

Well, apparently I goofed a bit when I planted my three sisters garden.
When I planted the golden Bantam Corn, I also planted the Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans at the same time - oops :scratch:On the north side along the trellis I planted Butternut Squash. Pumpkins in the 2 corners. All was well until now - due to the rain the beans are taking over!!  I hope to get into the garden tom (if no rain!) and
try to straighten the mess.      cuckoo
Any suggestions??


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Post  camprn 6/13/2013, 9:33 pm

Put some poles in there for the beans to climb.  Good luck!

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Post  mschaef 6/13/2013, 10:05 pm

Here is my thoughts: I would try to pull the pumpkin vines out and let them just sit one the ground around the boxes so that they don't block the sun from the corn. Also I like Camprn idea of putting stakes in for the beans for now. That might also help the corn get some more sun light to help it grow taller too.
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Post  Turan 6/13/2013, 10:53 pm

I love the pictures, gives me hope.

GWN how did you process your Mandan Brides corn?  Were you soaking it for planting or for grinding?  If grinding did you try the lime soak thing?  It is supposed to also make them easier to grind but I do not know if a stone grinder could do wet grinding?  

Quiltbea maybe put your squash in buckets next to the patch so they don't crowd the corn and beans?

+1 on camprns suggestion also....  I hope it works, Dunkinjean

I think maybe I should cover my plot to help it stay warm.  We are having a lot of rain and some warm temperatures too.  It has been almost a week since planting....  fuss fuss fuss uphill and win

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Post  GWN 6/13/2013, 11:47 pm

TURAN
I am just soaking them for planting, BUT planning ahead for grinding. I am reading the article in this months MOTHER EARTH NEWS  "BUILDING food self sufficiency" and she is talking about all the different types of corn, and suggests Floriana Red Flint corn for full protein, non GMO.  Have never heard of this one.
Dunkinjean, I love your pictures and would be tempted to suggest to leave it up to mother nature to sort out the mess, but perhaps throwing the beans a lifeline, might help Smilewho?me?
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Post  FamilyGardening 6/14/2013, 12:45 am

quiltbea wrote:FamGard and GWN, lookin' good with yours.
My Quickie corn is just starting to sprout.  I plan to put in some bean seeds when they are about 4-5" tall.  I'm not sure yet what to do about the squash.  Maybe a pattypan type in a couple corners?  It seems like its going to be terribly crowded with the squash added.   I have sugar peas growing in the north 4 squares and all doing great.

corners sound like a good idea for the squash.....it does get a bit crowded....but those sisters take care of each other......they are a close family LOL Smile

happy gardening
rose
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Post  Turan 7/16/2013, 1:09 pm

The fifth sister who volunteered, tomatillos.  She is as big as her neighbor sunflower Shocked  The ones under the corn are smaller.
Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-jul14

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Post  Turan 8/10/2013, 2:25 pm

How is every ones Sisters patch doing?  And all those great heirloom dry beans and corn?

Here is a close up of the beans and corn on July 28th.  The beans are supposedly a bush dry bean but they took off running so I stuck some spare tomato cages in there to give them an alternative to the corn.  The corn was just starting to tassel. 

Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-jul10
Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-jul11

August first saw a huge hail storm come through.  I am lucky I had as little damage as I did, otheres were reduced to nothing but green bulp.  Here is some after shots.  The corn sacrificed itself for the beans.

Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-aug10

Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-aug11

 The squash is making a come back already blooming.  The corn is valiantly trying to make ears and the beans are blooming.  Everything looks very tattered but the force to try to grow and make seed is phenomenal!

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Post  Triciasgarden 8/10/2013, 8:28 pm

They sure did have a rough time of it!  I hope everything keeps up the good work!
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Post  FamilyGardening 8/11/2013, 12:15 am

Turan...... so sorry your garden was hit with hail Sad the before shots they looked very green and strong so Im hoping they bounce back for you!

Our back Garden corn has been getting hit hard by the birds....they are taking off all the silks by the chunks full.....last year they did the same thing and we still got corn as the corn silks were pretty much dried up....this year they are even taking the pale color silks.....Mad ....if its not one thing its another......hang in there!

here is our Three sisters in Box #2 in our SFG....already been harvesting a few beans, and the zucchini has given us our very first ever grown zucchini ....it was so yummy in bread....today I found another baby.....Very Happy ....crookneck squash has a baby on it too....the corn didn't grow very tall ... its kind of a shorter corn anyways....there are a lot of cobs growing....again on the small size....the silks are just starting to show signs of drying up....they seem to be lagging behind compared to the back garden corn....but this corn had the cobs sooner then the back corn....weird Shocked 

Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 Dscf0317

 close up of the corn Very Happy so far the birds are leaving these alone.....

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happy gardening
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Post  southern gardener 8/11/2013, 12:24 am

The beans did very well, but the corn did not. Small puny stalks and small puny ears about this size of my thumb. I'm thinking 4 per square is just too many nutrition wise for 6" of soil. The beans climbed way over the tops of the corn and clung on to whatever they could find. Didn't do the squash this time around. Have another bed with a squash in it that seems to be doing well. Can't remember what kind we planted though?? Delicata??
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Post  FamilyGardening 8/11/2013, 12:42 am

SG....most of our corn in our Three sisters we planted 3 per SQ and the SQ's in the front of the box only had 1 per SQ planted....we too only have 6 inch's of MM in this box.....
our squash plant is a lot smaller then the back garden squash too.....the beans though love the box of only 6 inch's.....they are up and over the trellis hanging down climbing on to the corn LOL Razz  corn is a heavy feeder....I did give these guys some compost tea and fish emulsion because at first they were on the lighter side of green....as soon as we fed them....they darkened up.....Very Happy 

next time we are going to try it a bit different and plant only 1 corn per square.... plant a squash in the middle of the box instead of the out side corners.....with the beans up on the back trellis and see how that works Very Happy 

Happy gardening
rose
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Post  southern gardener 8/11/2013, 12:48 am

FamilyGardening wrote:SG....most of our corn in our Three sisters we planted 3 per SQ and the SQ's in the front of the box only had 1 per SQ planted....we too only have 6 inch's of MM in this box.....
our squash plant is a lot smaller then the back garden squash too.....the beans though love the box of only 6 inch's.....they are up and over the trellis hanging down climbing on to the corn LOL Razz  corn is a heavy feeder....I did give these guys some compost tea and fish emulsion because at first they were on the lighter side of green....as soon as we fed them....they darkened up.....Very Happy 

next time we are going to try it a bit different and plant only 1 corn per square.... plant a squash in the middle of the box instead of the out side corners.....with the beans up on the back trellis and see how that works Very Happy 

Happy gardening
rose
We are trying another experiment...we took the weed fabric off of the bottom of one of the beds, and added wood chips over the top 4" thick and did the corn 4 per square. So far we haven't had to feed it, and it's still green, but the plants are still a little on the thin side, but not as puny as before. The squash looks good, dark green and healthy looking, but still too young to tell at this point. We too fed our corn that was in the 6" of MM with the weed cloth, but it didn't seem to help it enough. Keep me posted how yours do too!
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Post  FamilyGardening 8/11/2013, 12:56 am

SG..... I will Very Happy 

keep us posted on yours too!

we too took out our weed cloth below this box before we planted this year and added wood chips as a mulch Very Happy we are thinking about building these box's deeper next year

Happy gardening
rose
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Post  Turan 10/6/2013, 3:28 pm

Here is some of the results of my Three Sisters garden this year~
Three Sisters Square Foot garden - Page 3 13-oct10

The corn was planted 2/square but I still only got a couple dozen ears. You can see which were the best growing my garden. I will save some of the purple and red kernals for next year. I want dry beans and that needs more squares than 8 so they will get their own bed next year. This was not a great squash year because of the hail. We have really liked the Potimorran and Australian Butter pumpkin we got from Nonna. Those are joining our Mountaineer for next year.

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Post  Turan 1/12/2014, 9:41 pm

The last few weekends I have been cooking up bean stews using the produce from my Three Sisters garden. Tonight's stew is the last of the corn and winter squash. I ran out of Indian Woman yellow beans last week.

The corn I raised is a flour corn and it takes at least as long as dry beans to soften up and cook. Today I tried out soaking and boiling them in a weak alkali bath (pickling lime is recommended but I did not have any so I used baking soda). This process results in hominy. I did not take it to the full lose the kernel skins, just until the smell changed to more masa like and I could feel the slickness on the kernels as I rubbed them. I gather that means my stew tonight is a pozoles.

I saved seeds for this coming spring. Obviously I need a bigger patch.  Razz 

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Post  ETNRedClay 1/19/2014, 2:35 am

This was my first vegetable garden & my first SFG bed, so big dose of salt.  But I won't be doing another 3 or 4 sisters, and I did both last year.

Corn was hugely disappointing.  tiny ears, not filled out, took a massive amount of space, and every other driveway around here has truckloads of corn fresh picked that morning 3 for a buck.  Doesn't make sense for me.  Beans were great when planted AWAY from corn, but I think the corn was too heavy a feeder and the beans near them perished or were stunted. Sunflowers did NOTHING, corn was taller than stalks and they couldn't compete for sun.  Winter squash grew like gangbusters and I discovered I didn't care for any of the three varieties I planted.  Oh, well.



Loved my beans, so I'll definitely try sunflowers (for winter birds) and beans (for me again) this year.
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Post  GWN 1/19/2014, 11:23 am

TURAN your crop sound interesting.  I tried the 3 sisters but did not tend to it very well. I did however get tons of dried beans which have been a great crop for overwintering.  ONLY issue was going away in September, I did not dry them properly and so lost a lot of beans to rot, this year I will dry properly.  I also ended up with tons of squash and still have lots.  I was new to corn and planted too early, they did poorly.
One interesting thing however was the sunflower. I had a massive sunflower that grew out of my compost, so..... I decided to plant beans and squash around it, and they did very well.  The sunflower was so huge I could not wrap my  fingers around the base of it.   I am sure I will have volunteers all over the place this year. Smile
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Post  Turan 2/7/2015, 2:36 pm

I just finished shucking my corn from last summer.  About 30 ears gave me 2 lb of kernals plus lots to save for this year.  I decided what seed to save by how full and big the ear was and, most importantly, how easy to shuck by hand.  The long thin blue black ears seemed in general the best. 

Next up is nixatilizing the flour to make hominy/pozole! http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2009/01/how-to-make-your-own-home-made-fresh.html
I figure I will not grind it, just use the whole grains in stew, with my Indian yellow beans.  maybe add some dryed tomatoes to that stew, and garlic....   drooling

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Post  sanderson 2/7/2015, 7:18 pm

Turan, Quite interesting. Is the lime (Mexico Cal), the lime as in earth/construction or lime as in lemon?

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Post  Turan 2/7/2015, 9:08 pm

Calcium hydroxide.  This is what I use Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime.  It is the same as Cal Mexicana,mexican Lime

Wikipedia has a good article  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization

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