Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garden 4/2011: The Three Sisters




I divided my garden into two zones. The first zone starts out with peas and then has corn, green beans, squash, cucumbers and watermelon all growing together. The green beans climb on the corn and support nitrogen fixing bacteria. (As do the peas) The corn is a nitrogen hog and needs that help. The other plants provide ground cover, slowing down the weeds and regulating ground temperature.

I may plant some marigolds when the peas die. Marigolds are supposed to deter pests.Here is the garden: The cardboard is a ground cover. I'm trying to limit the ability of the grass to invade my garden. This menace sends roots and runners up to three feet out. I say limit because it springs up from very deep roots as well. Yes, I could have bought more photogenic plastic ground cover (probably more effective too) and stake it down, but I like the cardboard better. I enjoying making do and scrounging around for things to use which it not its intended purpose. Since this is my hobby activity, I'll do it the way I enjoy . Also cardboard biodegrades and may improve the soil or something.

This brings us to the soil. It is very sandy. I grew up in irrigated country that we could water once a week for most of the summer. Here I have to water two days out of three in July and August. I decided to plant the plants about 60% of the recommended distance because I figure the frequent watering will reduce the effects of crowding, and crowding will reduce the needed water and help prevent weeds. We'll see.

This grouping of plants is very similar to what the aztecs called 'the three sisters'; Corn, squash & beans. Thus the title.




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