Being part Blackfoot, I like to preserve my heritage wherever I can, especially when it comes to working with Mother Nature. I have tried growing the Three Sisters — corn, squash and beans — a few times and usually ended up with way too much of one or all of the crops.
Then I stumbled upon a great combination that provides us with snacks for the rest of the year. I grow popcorn, pumpkins and pole beans.
It doesn't take up too much room in my garden, because they are grown together. The popcorn grows strong and tall, the pumpkin vines meander around the stalks, and the beans use the corn stalks for poles.
The best part is the harvest. We dry the popcorn right on the cob, and I remove all of the pumpkin seeds, clean, prepare and roast them. Packed in airtight packaging, both crops last throughout the winter. Of course some also go out to family and friends who enjoy them, too.
The pole beans may not sound like an ideal snack. But if you have ever munched on a few right off of the vine, you would think differently.
You can get popcorn from various seed catalogues and even in some garden shops and nursery centers.
M. Eileen O'Dea
Central Bridge, New York