THREE SIS­TERS

South African Garden and Home - - Growing Popcorn -

Maize, beans and squash are a clas­sic plant­ing com­bi­na­tion. Called the ‘three sis­ters’, this group­ing has been used by Na­tive Amer­i­cans for cen­turies as each of these plants helps the oth­ers. The maize pro­vides sup­port for the beans. The beans pro­vide ni­tro­gen. The large squash leaves sprawl­ing on the ground cre­ate a liv­ing mulch, smoth­er­ing weeds and keep­ing the soil moist. The prickly leaves of the squash also keep many de­struc­tive pests away. With pop­corn, this plant­ing mix­ture can be achieved us­ing a minia­ture pump­kin such as ‘Jack Be Lit­tle’. Plant the pop­corn seeds first, and when seedlings are about 12cm high, plant climb­ing beans at their base. About a week later, plant the squash seeds around the edges of the block of pop­corn and en­cour­age the ram­bling squash to grow un­der­neath it.

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