Three Sisters Gardens

The “Three Sisters” garden is a traditional companion planting method used by Native Americans for at least 5,000 years. Each “sister” is an agricultural crop that benefits another:

  • corn: provides climbing support for beans
  • beans: provides nitrogen to the soil which corn and squash can access
  • winter squash: prevents weeds by blocking sunlight from reaching the soil

Sometimes there was an inclusion of a fourth sister: sunflower, bee balm, bee plant, or another flower that attracts pollinators. You can see a garden in action in our Introducing the Three Sisters Garden video. For growing information, check out our Late Summer Garden Plan.


Other Late Summer Garden crops:

If you’re not going to use your harvest immediately, check out food storage information at You can also learn more about nutrition, food storage, and preservation by visiting


* These recipes were previously included as part of our monthly newsletter, The Big Green Beet. You can read previous newsletters in the Our Blog section of our website. If you are affiliated with a Big Green garden and would like to receive the newsletter, please reach out to your Garden Educator.

Extension Activities for the Classroom

For activities, lore, information on crop varieties, Native American Three Sister recipes, corn husk doll activity, and more check out The Three Sisters: Exploring an Iroquois Garden. It is often cited on websites and blogs due to it’s thoroughness. It predates NGSS and Common Core by quite a bit but it is still a great resource!

Happy gardening!