This weekend we harvested all that remained in our three sisters garden. The boys and I dug out the ten-by-ten plot and planted it at the beginning of May on a bit of a whim, and I wrote about our adventures in polyculture in June when it was in its infancy.
Since then we watched a few heirloom corn plants shoot toward the sky. Spotted rattlesnake beans twisted up their hardy stocks, and half a dozen varieties of spiky squash plants covered the ground beneath them. The soil in our plot wasn’t great, but we harvested loads of zucchini and summer squash and at least a dozen winter squash. We ate many rounds of green rattlesnake beans and let the rest dry on the vine for cooking beans.
We eat a lot of beans around here, and it was an educational process to grow them ourselves. Beans are such a humble and inexpensive food; it’s easy to take them for granted. But once you spend an afternoon hunched over a bowl shelling them, you’re less likely to do that.
What a thrill it’s been to watch what was a patch of weeds last April transform into a robust and beautiful garden. And because beans fix nitrogen in the soil, we’ll hopefully see even bigger harvests in our plot in future years. I definitely understand why this sisterly trio has such a rich history in the Americas.