In preparation for celebrating Tisquantum Day,
we had to figure out how to give participants a Three Sisters
Garden grown from heritage seeds. We decided to start
germinating the seeds in March so they would be tall enough by
April 22 to survive on their own. For those who don't know what a
heritage seed is, you need to know that most of the fruits and
vegetables you buy in modern stores are hybrids. They either have
no seeds, or their seeds will not germinate and grow. Heritage
seeds are taken from non-hybrid sources. If you grow an ear of
corn from a heritage seed, save one or two ears, dry out the
seeds and almost every one of them will germinate and grow into a
new plant next year, and on into the future.
Here is my Three Sister Garden growing in my
front yard. The plants are much taller than the ones that we will
be giving away on April 22nd, because they were the first ones we
started. I took a chance that I could plant them outdoors and
keep them protected from cold so that I would be able to have a
display garden for this Web site.
In the center, I have grown three corn stalks,
close enough so they can support one another if necessary, and so
they will be able to pollinate one another without human help.
The seed used is "Golden Bantam" bred by William
Chambers of Greenfield, Massachusetts in the 1890's, and put on
the market in 1902 by W. Atlee Burpee. Around each stalk of corn
are three pole bean plants, "Kentucky Wonder." They
were chosen because they taste good as green string beans, or
dried out for baked beans. Finally, I chose "Bush Table King
Acorn Winter Squash" as the "Third Sister" for
All of my Heritage seeds come from Victory Seed
Company in Molalla, Oregon ( www.victoryseeds.com ).
There are other sources, but I have been satisfied with their
seeds and their service.
For those who ask, I will also give away a
"fourth sister" that is customary to Native American
gardens, and that is the Sun Flower, that guards the north end of
the garden (where it won't cast a shadow on the other plants). I
will be using the Sun Flower stalks to support some green peas
that I had left over from a previous year's garden.