Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Quote of the Day: Three Sisters Garden

July 29th, 2012

Every American knows that a stand of well-grown sweet corn is a delight to the eye, as well as to the ear when it rustles in the wind. The classic mix of squash, beans, and corn is tricky to achieve in such a manner that the squash gets sufficient light and the beans to snot smother the corn. They should be planted only when the corn is already well on its way. Once grown, the stand of corn provides one of the best vertical accents possible.

Louisa Jones in The Art of French Vegetable Gardening

There’s something so classic about a three sisters garden. Last year I grew one featuring an heirloom yellow popcorn, a special heirloom bean that can take the shade of the corn, and Cinderella pumpkins along the edges. Everything seemed to thrive.

This is the first year in a few that I’m not growing popcorn. I typically grow it in my mom’s potager, but there was no space left for it. Plus with the possibility of a move I didn’t know if I’d be around during harvest time.

Hopefully in my new garden I’ll have space to include both sweet corn and popcorn. We’re lucky to have a local farm from which to purchase fresh sweet corn, but I’d love to grow it myself. I’m not a huge fan of the new super sweet hybrids, I like a less sweet corn with more “corn” flavor. I’ll definitely be trying to find a good one for next summer.

Do you grow sweet corn in your garden or purchase it from a local farm? Any special varieties to recommend?

10 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Three Sisters Garden”
  1. Nebraska Dave on July 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Susy, my love for sweet corn started …. well, I can’t remember when it started. Our sweet corn initially was just regular field corn in the blister stage. So my taste for corn on the cob is one that likes substance to the corn. I’m not a fan of sweet or blistery corn. This is the first year that I’ve been able to grow sweet corn. My new property (Terra Nova Gardens) has the space to grow it. However, after just a few harvested ears the raccoons moved in and stripped it clean. I suspected it would happen as their is wild wooded area next to my garden. I’m in process of building fences and perhaps in a couple years I’ll be able to protect my garden a little better. It’s just part of gardening in the wild.

    Have a great sweet corn day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. WendyM on July 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I also don’t like the super sweet corn. I grew 2 years Stowell’s Evergreen is a white sweet corn developed by Nathan Stowell of New Jersey in 1848. It grows tall ~7ft and has 1 or 2 ears that are about 8-9in long. But be aware of the squirrels they love it too. I grew Argent also white but I found it too sweet. I grew also Strawberry popcorn but the squirrels got to it. Next year I want to grow Mexican Black and Buhl that I got from Sandhill if I enclose my corn patch to protect it from the squirrels.

    Reply to WendyM's comment

  3. Mrs. Mac on July 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Last year I planted corn in my raised beds .. which was a bad idea. Next year I have a spot in the ground already picked out to grow some. I have a local farm where I go and pick my own .. including popcorn.

    Reply to Mrs. Mac's comment

  4. Amy on July 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    We used to, but the last two years we had really bad luck (our very early variety was finally ready in late August), so we’ve thrown in the towel. Corn grows much better in Eastern Washington, anyway, and we have a local farm that trucks it in, so we may buy a little bit this year.

    Reply to Amy's comment

  5. Sue From Ky. on July 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I tried your Three Sisters method this year only to have my efforts thwarted by the drought. I definitely plan to try it another year, if all goes well. I love trying new things.This sounds like a winning idea. I was using Hickory King corn which is a white corn. Pop use to love it as a young man, but now he prefers a sweeter variety.I would have used the HH for making hominy.I have experimented with that before and would love to try it again. Pop loves hominy,too.

    Reply to Sue From Ky.'s comment

    • Susy on July 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Hominy is great, would love to grow/make some in the future.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Peggy on July 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    We are growing a hodge podge of the three sisters this year….. 21 years and 5 moves ago we grew sweet corn. This year is our 2nd try but I hate to admit I have no idea what I planted…. just that it is a sweet corn. Over the years we’ve enjoyed a variety of “heirloom” sweet corn grown by numerous local “farmers.” Due to a late planting our corn is a bit late… the ears are forming and we are hoping to have corn to eat soon! But next year, next year will be different! In fact we have already started to work on the plans for next year’s garden and what we would like to do differently. Heirloom runner beans and winter squash grown with the sweet corn, potatoes, onions, beans for drying, leaks, and peas are just a few things we hope to have!

    Have a great day!!

    Reply to Peggy's comment

  7. Brenda on July 30, 2012 at 12:45 am

    You mentioning your mum made me realise you will be living further away from her, I hope you will still be close enough to spend some quality time with her xxBrenda

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  8. Jennifer Krieger on July 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I agree with you about sweet corn. OUt here in California white corn is huge – and sweet. In fact, white produce in general is too sweet: white peaches, white nectarines, etc.

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

  9. KimP on July 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I grow a sweet corn (SE/se) called Quickie (Territorial) because if I can’t get it in a hurry, I won’t get it at all! If I’m lucky, I can even succession plant and get more than one crop out of it.

    Reply to KimP's comment

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Cooking up a Storm

There's not much I enjoy more than spending a day in the kitchen cooking up all kinds of goodness. Since...