Sunday, February 19, 2017

3 Sisters Garden - Recap

With the season over and taking time to reflect on the 3 Sisters Garden project, I would put it in the "win" column!

My most successful piece was the Cherokee Long Ear corn.  This was the first time I had attempted to grow corn of any type. It was very rewarding for me.  Since I don't have the space to grow enough corn for my family of five to eat fresh, flint corn is definitely a good choice. I will be growing this again.


I removed kernels from ears
that weren't fully developed.

Opening each ear at the end of the season was like opening a little present finding out what color was inside. I had some beautiful, decorative corn to use as decorations through the fall and Thanksgiving.  I gave several bundles as gifts to close friends and family, along with a gourd or two that grew from my "mystery" plant.  Much of the corn from this plot was removed from the cob and used for pop corn.  It made for some beautiful and very tasty snacks.  I hadn't realized how much the taste of popcorn changed over the years until I tasted this I raised myself. 

Ground Kernels and Cornbread

When I chose this corn, I knew I wanted to use some of  it to grind and make cornbread.  I like to have as much of my Thanksgiving dinner grown and homemade as possible. This cornbread was, by far, my most ambitious project for the table.  The multiple colors of the corn kernels made for a beautiful one-of-a-kind cornbread.  

The beans grew up the corn as they were supposed to and did quite well.  It was a fun challenge to duck in between the stalks of corn and over the vines to collect these beans.  We wanted to eat them fresh, but leaving them on to dry would most likely be the better choice.  While I was away one long weekend, the bean beatles came in and defoliated many of them before my return.  At that point,  I left the remaining beans in the garden to dry on the vines. 

Rattlesnake beans with beautiful purple striping, growing on the corn.

The squash, on the other hand, did not fair so well.  Perhaps it was too much shade from the stalks being close, the tree on the edge of the garden that created more shade than I realized, or the devastating squash bugs. I did get some gourds from that "mystery" spot, and a few small squash from the southern edge of the plot.  

3 Sisters Garden during growing.

I love trying something new in my garden each year.  This was an incredible project and one I look forward to doing again.  I have decided that flint corn will be something incorporated into my garden spaces on a regular basis for decorations, gifting and fresh popcorn.  

I have mason jars of "seeds" from this crop, corn kernels and dried beans, saved to plant next time which is another lesson from our past - self-reliance.

I hope I have inspired you to try the "3 Sisters Garden" or, at the least, to simply try and experiment with something new.