Thursday, 2 August 2012

Two Sisters

Three Sisters, Sweetcorn, Climbing Peas and Cucurbits

This was my Three Sisters patch just over two weeks ago. The sweetcorn was beginning to do well and the various squashes, pumpkins and courgettes were just beginning to flower and burst into growth. The pea beans, though, had twice floundered under attack by slugs. I'd raised some in the greenhouse though and these were looking healthy enough to go outside. Three Sisters restored.

The cucurbits planted in tyres were mostly beginning to thrive too. This system of planting means I can pack all the nutrients in around the roots. It is most beneficial in a warmer and drier year, when the tyres heat up the soil and help retain water.

Thursday 2nd August 2012

So, fast forward to early August and here's my Three Sisters patch.

The sweetcorn is doing well. I had my reservations about planting it in blocks of four, but decided to follow the planting guidelines to the letter. The flower tassels are waving about in the air and the cobs are beginning to swell.

Underneath, the cucurbits are really beginning to ramble now and most have fruits forming.

As for the pea beans ... well, the third Sister has again failed to make it past the slugs. Maybe one or two might survive to clamber up the corn stems if I'm lucky. On the positive side, I think this system will work well for me. This is just an exceptionally challenging year for all the beans.

The first courgette.
This is Grisette de Provence.
It grew rather fat and I thought
it might go pulpy inside,
but no, it was lovely and firm.
I griddled half with burgers and chips.
The other half held up very well
in a chicken and potato curry.
The squashes, pumpkins and courgettes grown on the ground in the Three Sisters system seem to have faired about the same as their cousins grown in tyres. I'll give them all a feed of comfrey juice now they've set some fruits.

We've started harvesting courgettes and the patty pans aren't far behind. A welcome glut will soon be upon us!

I'm growing pumpkins for the first time this year, Jack Be Little and Hundredweight. I don't just use them at halloween. They are great in soups, curries and in cakes and muffins. So versatile.
And with the winter squashes too we'll be well fed from our stores in the colder months.

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