Native American Gardening: The Three Sisters and More

Connect to an ancient heritage by growing these rare vegetable varieties traced back to Native American gardens.



Cherokee multicolored popcorn
The concept of companion planting, in which one plant helps the other, is the basic idea behind the Three Sisters, but focusing on this alone glosses over many of the nuances in native garden traditions.
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
bowl of Nanticoke summer squash
Very rare Nanticoke summer squash was a "maycock" variety, meaning it was served at its green stage. 
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
the Tutelo Strawberry corn variety
'Tutelo Strawberry' is a rare Native American corn variety that retains a pink color in cornmeal. 
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
corn stalks make great bean poles
Many Native American corns make great bean poles, allowing beans to spiral up their stalks. 
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
the native Puhwem corn variety
This 'Puhwem' Native American corn variety is one of the tallest, reaching heights of about 18 feet. 
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
Virginia White Gourdseed corn
Iroquois 'Virginia White Gourdseed' corn was known as “tooth corn” because of the tooth-like shape of the kernels.
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
a plethora of seed varieties
Clockwise from top left: 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' beans, 'Amish Nuttle' beans, 'Ohio Pole Bean' and the beautiful 'True Cranberry' beans.
Top: Photos Courtesy Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Bottom: Photos Courtesy Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm
cornbread made in a cast-iron skillet
Iroquois 'Virginia White Gourdseed' corn lends a slightly nutty flavor to cornbread.
Photo By Rob Cardillo Photography
Carl's Glass Gems corn variety
This stunning corn variety is 'Carl's Glass Gems.'
Photo By Greg Schoen











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