Corn, Beans, and Squash: The Three Sisters

Corn and beans 2

Sharing is caring!

Corn and beans 2

Sometimes one vegetable crop can help another vegetable crop grow better just by being nearby. For example lettuce and spinach often grow better in the shade of a taller plant. Growing two or more crops in close proximity for a shared benefit is called companion planting.

A classic planting of three garden companions is corn, beans, and squash. Native Americans call this inter-planted trio The Three Sisters.

Plant corn and pole beans on a mound or small hill; next, plant squash or pumpkin vines at the base of the mound. The corn will act as a living pole or stake for the beans to climb. The beans which draw nitrogen from the air and “fix” or add it to the soil will help the corn grow. Prickly squash vines growing at the foot of the mound will protect the corn and beans from animal crop invaders.

Planting The Three Sisters is an excellent use of space in a small garden.

Corn articles at Harvest to Table:

How to Plant and Grow Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn Seed Starting Tips

How to Harvest and Store Sweet Corn

Seven Ways to Cook and Serve Sweet Corn

Fresh Corn Salad Recipe

How to Make Sweet Corn Soup

Corn Chowder and Summer Flavors

Grilled Corn with Seasoned Butter

Corn, Herb, and Tomato Relish

Baby Corn Cooking and Serving Tips

Sauteed Corn

Corn, Beans, Squash: The Three Sisters

Corn Growing Problems Troubleshooting

Corn Earworm Organic Pest Control

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Pumpkin in October

Garden Tips for October

Pasta dough kneaded

Simple All-Purpose Pie Crust Recipe