Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three Sisters

Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans planted a trio of complementary crops: corn to grow tall, beans to vine up the corn stalks, and low growing squash to shade the root systems. This trio is known as the Three Sisters.

We've grown pole beans and squash together at Red Bucket Farm for a few years, but this year we added corn, the third sister. I was reluctant to grow corn because it encourages raccoons, and heaven knows they don't need any encouragement. But I could hardly resist a little package of corn seeds known as Blue Jade, a miniature plant with ears of sweet steel-blue kernels that turn jade-blue when boiled.

This raised bed is growing nicely. The beans are indeed crawling up the corn (see the photo above). It's important to keep a close eye on the beans, as they grow from toothpick-size to the size of a cigar seemingly overnight. The ears of corn and the squash are still developing. It's a different kind of sisterhood!


  1. Hi Cindy - I was wondering how your 'Three Sisters' are fairing as we get into harvest time. I am considering trying this next year so would be interested to hear if you plan to repeat .....

  2. Hi Christina! The squash and beans have produced wonderfully, but the corn was a bust. Perhaps we let it grow too long or didn't cook it long enough, but none of us ate the blue corn---not even our chickens! I'll still group the squash and beans together next year, but if I grow corn again, I'll certainly try a different variety. The good news is that grown with the Three Sisters, corn doesn't take much space. Thanks for writing!