There has been lots of progress from the plants lately. The weather has been perfect the last few weeks. A few storms his hard to soak the soil and the forecast for the next few days will be warm and dry. I have a lot of containers but the section I’m most excited about are my raised beds where I decided to try the 3 sisters method. For those who don’t know, the process is to plant corn, beans, and squash close together and the three crops are supposed to help each other grow. The broad leaves of the squash shade the ground which is good for beans which may not be able to handle intense heat. The beans help by putting nitrogen into the soil which is good for the corn. The cornstalks provide support for the beans to grow. I’ve seen various diagrams on seed placement and I’m not sure there’s a “correct” layout. I prepared my beds this way:
Bean Bean Bean Bean Corn Corn Corn Corn
Corn Corn Corn Corn
Bean Bean Bean Bean
When everything goes smoothly it can be a great way to make the most of small gardening spaces, but the tricky part is the timing. I’ve tried Scarlet Runner beans before and once they sprout they grow very fast. That’s why I started the corn back in early March and the beans only last week. It was early for the corn, but I wanted them to have as much of a head start as possible. As usual, the beans shot out of the ground quickly and are already a few inches tall. So far it looks like the stalks are big and strong enough to support the beans. I just hope it keeps up throughout the summer. I’ve never grown pumpkins before and don’t know how quickly they’re supposed to grow. I planted them along the sides hoping they would grow inward and surround the inner portion of the bed by the time temperatures are scorching. So far the leaves are growing broad but they aren’t encroaching in on the corn and beans. I might have to look up pruning techniques to see if there’s any way to motivate them into progressing a certain direction.
The takeaway is that there are a few speedbumps but so far the 3 sisters are showing good progress. Most of the seeds I planted this year were heirlooms and the beans came from Ranch Gordo. If nobody’s heard of them I highly recommend giving them a look at https://www.ranchogordo.com/ . They have lots of beans and the ones I save for planting have always been quick to sprout.