The 3 sisters guild was something I first read about in Gaia’s Garden: Home-scale Permaculture book.
This post will teach you:
- What the 3 sisters permaculture guild is
- The big mistakes not to make
What is the 3 sisters guild?
The 3 sister guild is a growing method adapted from the Native Americans that is seen frequently within the permaculture realm. It contains corn, winter squash varieties like the spaghetti squash, and pole beans. The pole beans climb up the corn stalks, anchoring the corn into the ground and aid in restoring nitrogen. Allowing the beans to climb the corn reduces the need to build a trellis like a bean teepee. The trailing squash grows around the corn stalks, covering the soil which can help smother some of the weeds and making a good use of space. The spiny squash vines have the added benefit of keeping the corn safer from racoons. If you want to try a really pretty type of corn, I suggest using painted mountain corn in the 3 sisters guild.
Spacing guide from Fix
Guilds are popular permaculture garden designs as you’re creating a little ecosystem.
You want plants to work together, reduce pests and disease and to restore some soil nutrition.
Below you can see we grew corn in blocks of four.
3 Sister’s Guild Mistakes to Avoid
Here are some mistake not to make when growing the 3 sisters guild. Always make sure you have good soil fertility too as corn and squash need rich soil.
Grow a tall variety of corn. We grew bantam and it was too short!
Corn is better grown in blocks as corn is wind pollinated. You need rows of 4 for adequate for pollination
Don’t grow bush beans, you need to grow pole beans to climb up the corn stalks.
Grow smaller sized winter squash otherwise they might damage surrounding plants.
Grow vining winter squash not bush squash
Have you tried growing the 3 sisters permaculture guild? Did it work for you?