This week Ms. Schwartz's 3rd graders planted a Three Sisters Garden in the edible garden. The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. The have been planted for generations by indigenous peoples in America. By the time Europeans came to America in the 1600s, Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for more than 300 years! This is a good example of companion planting.
The three plants help each other. The corn is the support for the beans which climb up the stalk. Beans provide provide nitrogen for the soil. The squash keeps the ground cool during the warm summer. We planted heirloom Brinker Beans which we got from Turtle Tree Seed Initiative. We also planted Hjerleid Blue Corn, an heirloom corn which was donated by Seed Savers Exchange.
Different tribes plant different types of beans or corn or squash depending upon where they live.
Here is a link to an Iroquois Three Sisters legend: http://www.iroquoiswhitecorn.org/about/the-three-sisters.