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Does summer squash work with 3 sisters planting? — The Grow Network Community
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Does summer squash work with 3 sisters planting?

judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 ModeratorPosts: 3,626 admin
edited November 2020 in Vegetables

Corn seems to be doing surprisingly well here... thought I might try a 3 sisters combo. Would summer (crooked neck and patty pan) squash and field (cow) peas work? I also have plenty of black beans, pintos, navy, lima, kidney and butterbeans.... All recommendations and advice would be much appreciated!


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, I believe that summer squash varieties were planted with corn by Native Americans.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 3,626 admin

    That was what I always thought... but wiki said winter squash and some folks say pumpkins. I wonder if it really matters?

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 776 ✭✭✭✭

    Well, summer squash are actually the same species( C. pepo) as acorn squash and most pumpkins; they are just bred to be picked fresh instead of cured like a winter squash. I would think the synergy would work the same. If memory serves correctly, part of the reason for the under-story of squash was to discourage larger animals like racoons from getting into the corn, because they don't like the scratchy feel of squash leaves.

    Just decided to check the The Kitchen Garden-Sylvia Thompson- because of the detailed info on squashes. She says about C. pepo "If racoons live nearby, pepos are the prickly deterrents you need to keep safe your corn and other raccoon-tempting crops. Pepo squashes have been called nature's barbed wire fence." She does have a brief write up on the 3 Sisters, but doesn't mention squash species, just that the corn gives the squash shade.

    I tried the 3 sisters method a while ago, with mediocre results, but I made a few mistakes. I do know that several times I have grown either corn or sunflower next to my pole beans, multiple varieties, and usually a few vines would rather climb the plant stalks than my fence. The only problem is if you have a really tall plant( I grew Oaxacan green corn a few years ago, and it got around 10 feet!), the beans my grow out of reach.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 3,626 admin

    Good info! I'm planting Country Gentleman heirloom, sweet white.

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