garden organic

THREE SISTERS GARDEN: CORN, POLE BEANS, & SQUASH

Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters.” Native Americans always inter-planted this trio because they thrive together, much like three inseparable sisters.

By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together.

Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting.

  • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support.
  • The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three.
  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
  • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons, which don’t like to step on them.

Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.

TIPS FOR GROWING THE THREE SISTERS

  • To try them in your garden, in spring, prepare the soil by adding fish scraps or wood ash to increase fertility if desired.
  • Make a mound of soil about a foot high and four feet wide.
  • When the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound. Sow six kernels of corn an inch deep and about ten inches apart in a circle of about 2 feet in diameter.
  • When the corn is about 5 inches tall, plant four bean seeds, evenly spaced, around each stalk. About a week later, plant six squash seeds, evenly spaced, around the perimeter of the mound.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

Vegetable Crop Yields, Plants per Person, and Crop Spacing

Vegetable crop yields and the number of vegetable plants to grow for each person in your household will help you estimate the space needed for a home vegetable garden.

Crop yield estimates and consumption predictions are largely base on experience. Keeping a food log and garden record can help you hone your vegetable garden needs and make for smarter planning.

Vegetable crop yields will vary according to garden conditions and variety planted. Weather and growing conditions can change from year to year, and these changes can affect yield.

Here are crop yield estimates, plants-per-person suggestions, and crop spacing requirements to help you estimate your garden space requirements and growing requirements. Use these estimates with your own experience.

Vegetable Crop Yields, Plants per Person, and Crop Spacing:

Artichoke. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 12 buds per plant after the first year. Space plants 4 to 6 feet apart.

Arugula. Grow 5 plants per person. Space plants 6 inches apart.

Asparagus. Grow 30 to 50 roots for a household of 2 to 4 people. Yield 3 to 4 pounds of spears per 10-foot row. Space plants 12 inches apart.

Bean, Dried. Grow 4 to 8 plants per person. Yield in pounds varies per variety. Space plants 1 to 3 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

Bean, Fava. Grow 4 to 8 plants per person. Space plants 4 to 5 inches apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart.

Bean, Garbanzo, Chickpea. Grow 4 to 8 plants per person. Yield 4 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 3 to 6 inches apart in rows 24 to 30 inches apart.

Bean, Lima. Grow 4 to 8 per person. Yield 4 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space bush lima beans 3 to 6 inches apart in rows 24 to 30 inches apart; increase distance for pole limas.

Beans, Snap. Grow 4 to 8 plants total of each variety or several varieties per person. Yield 3 to 5 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 1 to 3 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

Beans, Soy. Grow 4 to 8 plants per person. Yield 4 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 2 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

Beets. Grow 5 to 10 mature plants per person. Yield 8 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 3 inches apart for roots–1 inch apart for greens.

Broccoli. Grow 2 to 4 plants per person. Yield 4 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

Brussels sprouts. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 3 to 5 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart.

Cabbage. Grow 4 to 8 plants per person. Yield 10 to 25 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 24 to 30 inches apart.

Carrots. Grow 30 plants per person. Yield 7 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Thin plants to 1½ to 2 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.

Cauliflower. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 8 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

Celery. Grow 5 plants per person. Yield 6 to 8 stalks per plant. Space plants 6 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart.

Chayote. Grow 1 vine for 1 to 4 people. Set vining plants 10 feet apart and train to a sturdy trellis or wire support.

Chicory. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Space plants 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

Chinese Cabbage. Grow 6 to 8 heads per person. Space plants 4 inches apart in rows 24 to 30 inches apart.

Collards. Grow 2 to 3 plants per person. Yield 4 to 8 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 15 to 18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

Corn. Grow 12 to 20 plants per person. Yield 1 to 2 ears per plants, 10 to 12 ears per 10-foot row. Space plant 4 to 6 inches apart in rows2 to 3 feet apart.

Cucumber. Grow 6 plants per person. Grow 3 to 4 plants per quart for pickling. Yield 8 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 1 to 3 feet apart in rows 3 to 6 feet apart.

Eggplant. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 8 fruits per Italian oval varieties; yield 10 to 15 fruits per Asian varieties. Space plants 24 to 30 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

Endive and Escarole. Grow 2 to 3 plants per person. Yield 3 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

Garlic. Grow 12 to 16 plants per person. Yield 10 to 30 bulbs per 10-foot row. Space cloves 3 to 6 inches apart in rows 15 inches apart.

Horseradish. Grow 1 plant per person. Space plants 30 to 36 inches apart.

Jicama. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 1 to 6 pound tuber per plant. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart.

Kale. Grow 4 to 5 plants per person. Yield 4 to 8 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 12 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.

Kohlrabi. Grow 4 to 5 plants per person. Yield 4 to 8 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart.

Leeks. Grow 12 to 15 plants per person. Yield 4 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 2 to 4 inches apart in rows 6 to 10 inches apart.

Lettuce. Grow 6 to 10 plants per person; plant succession crops with each harvest. Yield 4 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space looseleaf lettuce 4 inches apart and all other types 12 inches apart in rows 16 to 24 inches apart.

Melon. Grow 2 to plants per person. Yield 2 to 3 melons per vine. Space plants 3 to 4 feet apart in rows 3 feet wide.

Mustard. Grow 6 to 10 plants per person. Yield 3 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plant 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 15 to 30 inches apart.

Okra. Grow 6 plants per person. Yield 5 to 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart in rows 2½ to 4 feet apart.

Onion, Bulb. Yield 7 to 10 pounds of bulbs per 10-foot row. Space onion sets or transplants 4 to 5 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.

Parsnip. Grow 10 plants per person. Yield 10 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart.

Peas. Grow 30 plants per person. Yield 2 to 6 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 2 to 4 inches apart in rows2 feet apart for bush peas, 5 feet apart for vining peas.

Pepper. Grow 2 to 3 plants per person. Yield 5 to 18 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 28 to 36 inches apart.

Potato. Grow 1 plant to yield 5 to 10 potatoes. Yield 10 to 20 pounds per 10-foot row. Space seed potatoes 10 to 14 inches apart in trenches 24 to 34 inches apart.

Pumpkin. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 10 to 20 pounds per 10-foot row. Space bush pumpkins 24 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Set 2 to 3 vining pumpkins on hills spaced 6 to 8 feet apart.

Radicchio. Grow 5 to 6 plants per person. Space plants 6 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.

Radish. Grow 15 plants per person. Yield 2 to 5 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 1 inch apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.

Rhubarb. Grow 2 to 3 plants per person. Yield 1 to 5 pounds per plant. Set plants 3 to 6 feet apart.

Rutabaga. Grow 5 to 10 plants per person. Yield 8 to 30 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 15 to 36 inches apart.

Salsify. Grow 10 plants per person. Space plants 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 20 to 30 inches apart.

Scallions. Yield 1½ pounds per 10-foot row. Spaces onion sets or plants 2 inches apart for scallions or green onions.

Shallot. Yield 2 to 12 cloves per plant. Space plants 5 to 8 inches apart in rows 2 to 4 feet apart.

Sorrel. Grow 3 plants per person. Space plants 12 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.

Spinach. Grow 15 plants per person. Yield 4 to 7 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 1 to 2 feet apart.

Squash, Summer. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 10 to 80 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 2 to 4 feet apart in rows 5 feet apart.

Squash, Winter. Grow 1 plant per person. Space plants feet apart.

Sunchokes. Grow 5 to 10 plants per person. Space plants 24 inches apart in rows 36 to 40 inches apart.

Sunflower. Grow 1 plant per person. Yield 1 to 2½ pounds of seed per flower. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart in rows 30to 36 inches apart.

Sweet Potato. Grow 5 plants per person. Yield 8 to 12 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 12 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

Swiss Chard. Grow 2 to 3 plants per person. Yield 8 to 12 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 12 inches apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart.

Tomatillo. Grow 1 to 2 plants per person. Yield 1 to 2 pounds per plant. Space plants 10 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart.

Tomato, Cherry. Grow 1 to 4 plants per person. Space plants 3 feet apart in rows 35 to 45 inches apart.

Tomato, Cooking. Grow 3 to 6 plants of each variety; this will yield 8 to 10 quarts. Space plants 42 inches apart in rows 40 to 50 inches apart.

Tomato, Slicing. Grow 1 to 4 plants per person. Space plants 42 inches apart in rows 40 to 50 inches apart.

Turnip. Grow 5 to 10 plants per person. Yield 8 to 12 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 5 to 8 inches apart in rows in rows 15 to 24 inches apart.

Watermelon. Grow 2 plants per person. Yield 8 to 40 pounds per 10-foot row. Space plants 4 feet apart in rows 4 feet wide and 8 feet apart.

Source: http://www.harvesttotable.com/

Homemade Fertilizer

Can’t afford to buy fertilizer or just want to make your own? Here is my magic plant juice recipe (proven to yield awesome results)!

You will need:
- A clean jar
- Banana peels
- Egg shells
- Used coffee grounds OR tea bags
- Coffee filter / paper towel (for straining)

1. Chop up banana peels.
2. Clean egg shells of any remaining yolk and/or film.
3. Collect used coffee grounds (or used tea bags, if you don’t drink coffee).
4. Place all of these in your CLEAN! jar.
5. Top with water. Close jar and shake it up nice and good.
6. Leave it alone in a cool, dark place for about a week.
7. Strain the solids.
8. Keep refrigerated. Or don’t. Personally I just leave it a cool, dark corner of my studio. Just make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight.

* Use fertilizer full-strength on plants that really need a boost. Otherwise, you can dilute it with water.
* Banana peels are full of macronutrients like potassium and magnesium, eggshells add calcium, and coffee grounds add nitrogen.

Now go forth and get your plants drunk and happy!!!