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Three Sisters - Growing The Max

Discussion in 'Crops' started by Prime, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    I've experimented with Three Sisters a couple of times when I had an allotment , it can be a very useful way to maximise Yield from a smaller patch of land. I found in the UK its important to start the Corn off as early as you can as potentially the beans will over run the corn strangling it.

    So the Three Sisters method involves growing three Plants in a single area to maximise growth , the First Plant ( Sweet Corn ) will add as a structure for Climbing beans to climb up , amid the plants at ground level you plant Squash's with have a prolific growth pattern which acts as a natural weed suppressant and mulch.

    If you've only a small area its worth trying as an experiment and can give big results.

    https://www.victoriananursery.co.uk..._And_Squashes_Using_The_Three_Sisters_Method/

    Its potentially possible i would think to grow some sort of Tuber plant along with the Three Sisters - Possibly Potato or Oca. Again its all down to timing and know when to take the harvest.
     
    Alanm and Offgrid hero like this.
  2. lonewolf

    lonewolf Site Manager Staff Member

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    there are several books on the subject of growing the maximum in the minimum space.
     
  3. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    No doubt....o_O


    This post is about Three Sisters which is one such recognised method.
     
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  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Site Manager Staff Member

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    indeed, personally I've had several allotments and lack of space wasn't a problem on any of them, although this method and others like it could be useful in a small suburban garden.
     
  5. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    Yes. Just sharing it for those that may not be familiar with it as it is fairly novel in terms of combining plants in a recognised system to be the growing structure for each other.

    Also as this is more pitched to the Post Fall world maximising food production from relatively easy to grow veg would be a critical technique for a larger family unit or commune - I don't think the size of the land you'd have ready to grow on would matter - you would be looking to grow as much as possible of the big easy producers. No opportunity to pop down to the Supermarket.

    I'd put it in the same bracket as Growing Potato's in a vertical stack of Tyres. Of course you don't HAVE to but it does produce the most out of the same space with little extra effort.
     
  6. lonewolf

    lonewolf Site Manager Staff Member

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    yes I totally agree, I have been growing spuds in tyre stacks for the best part of 20 years, when we lived in Somerset it was easy to get used tyres as they were dumped all over the Levels!!
     
  7. Orange Lemon

    Orange Lemon Member

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    I grow sweetcorn with squashes it works really well, but I do not bother with the beans as I get a higher yield from growing them up strings , it is also easier to pick the beans, I found it tricky not to trample the squashes as they had grown so well amongst the corn when in the past I had put the beans in with the others !
     
  8. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    Yes that was my experience as well , that the squashes became so well camouflaged you need to tread carefully.

    I think the Three Sisters origins lie in the First Nation tribes wandering along and planting them in a sort of Guerilla Gardening type manner.

    Not sure what other Veg combine well to grow well together.
     
  9. Orange Lemon

    Orange Lemon Member

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    I grow gem squash among my tomatoes in the green house . They do very well .
    I also plant turnips between things like kale and broccoli as they are long gone by the time the brassicas start getting big , also sowing radish in with rows of carrots , parsnips etc at the same time helps mark the rows.
     
  10. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    I'm liking what you're doing there. Any other related or unrelated allotment type tips Orange Lemon?
     
  11. Orange Lemon

    Orange Lemon Member

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    If you like greens , grow Jersey Kale ! Sow end of feb (UK) plant out early april , you can start picking of leaves within a month , it will keep growing /cropping pretty much untill you plant your next lot the following year ! It need staking as it will grow tall .I used to grow greyhound cabbage as they are fast, but the kale is even quicker.
    Spring onions , I prick out 5 or six into 3 inch pot , then plant out when they are 4 inches tall , about 6" apart , that way you get a nice little bunch when they are ready.
    I do not believe in raised beds , my veg plot is treated as one whole raised bed , and come late autumn I to cover the whole thing in 4 to 6 inchs deep in well rotted horse manure , I then pen chickens on it a bit at a time , they rotivate it in and eat all the slug eggs and weeds .

    I only grow old varieties as you can save the seed and they will come true, only save from the best .
     
    Prime likes this.
  12. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    There is certainly a knack to knowing what to plan when and how much , sounds like youre a pro!
     
  13. Orange Lemon

    Orange Lemon Member

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    Not quite , but I have been growing my own fruit and veg for 40 years , so made plenty of mistakes to learn by!

    As well as chickens we have sheep and pigs , so do not by much food :)
     
  14. Prime

    Prime Active Member

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    I think growing over 40 years you probably know most of everything.

    Its been a long time since I lived on a small holding. Chickens and Pigs I get but I've no experience of Sheep , how many you got and to what purpose?
     
  15. Orange Lemon

    Orange Lemon Member

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    A very small flock , goes usually between 7 and 16 at the most, they are for meat , but we spin and knit the wool too, we sell a few lambs on each year too , it pays for winter feed ,vaccinations, ear tags, crovet etc :)

    Don;t matter how long you grow veg , there always stuff to learn . Especially how to be more efficient !
     
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  16. Alanm

    Alanm New Member

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    I do this every year.Instead of squash though,I use bush courgettes or marrows,they are less overwhelming I find.
     
    Phil likes this.