• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

What are Shawn's 'three brothers'?  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9926
Location: Portugal
908
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the review of Shawn Jadrnicek's book The Bio-Integrated Farm, I read this -
From Chinampa’s to the “three brothers” garden, kin to the more known “three sisters”, we get the sense of how a lot of ideas often used in permaculture are really connected with our history from different regions.


I'm fascinated - I'm familiar with the three sisters of maize/squash/beans, but what are the three brothers? And what can we learn from them?
 
Shawn Jadrnicek
Author
Posts: 28
Location: South Carolina
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Burra,

Thanks for the question. The three brothers are the perennial version of the three sisters. I'm not sure where I first learned of the three brothers and if it's a real native american tradition or a recently invented story. Maybe someone out there reading this can help me out on the true origin. I've put a bit of research into the subject and didn't get very far. For me the three brothers are Apios americana (American groundnut) a nitrogen fixing vine with edible tubers, seed pods and flowers. Helianthus tuberosus (sunchoke) is a tall sunflower like plant with edible tubers and Asarum sp. (wild ginger) as a winter ground cover but now deemed not edible. I've also seen Elderberry in the mix but that would probably have to replace the sunchokes. As far as plants go Apios is definitely my favorite but go with the improved varieties only.
 
R Welsh
Posts: 5
Location: Pacific Northwest
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems that with the "three brothers" you have to many plants that occupy and produce in the same soil level. Limiting overall yields.
 
Shawn Jadrnicek
Author
Posts: 28
Location: South Carolina
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The best part about the combo for me is that the sunchokes start looking awful towards the end of summer. Just when you want to mow them down for complete ugliness the Apios climb over the tops and envelop everything in a sea of green hiding the mess. Then, when you dig up the tubers through winter you get both.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Shawn, I recall you mentioning before the "improved varieties" of American groundnut available. Could you elaborate on any named cultivars or good sources for buying specimens or seeds with which you are familiar? Thanks!
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1236
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.oikostreecrops.com" target="_new" rel="nofollow">Oikos has them for sale, but they are out of stock currently. If anyone has another source, I am interested as well.

I don't know why the link is coming up weird like that, sorry.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1534
Location: Pacific Northwest
200
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The large variety was bred by Louisiana State University by Dr. Blackman. So far, I've been able to find this variety at Oikos, as well as through Edible Landscaping: http://ediblelandscaping.com/buyPlants.php?func=cats&catID=4&catSubID=71. Edible Landscaping sells them in pots (2.5 inch pot for $7).
 
Shawn Jadrnicek
Author
Posts: 28
Location: South Carolina
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of the improved varieties is called LA85-034 and is reported to be the best. I think that's the variety edible landscaping in VA is selling. I've had some softball sized tubers from this variety.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1236
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the Edible Landscaping page, it lists groundnuts as hardy to zone 6, but I have read elsewhere they are hardy to zone 3. I'm in zone 4b, so I don't want to plant them unless I can get a definitive answer. Anyone know?
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1534
Location: Pacific Northwest
200
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it's that some varieties are hardier to colder temperatures than others. I recall reading about that a few years back, but didn't pay much attention since I'm zone 7/8. I *think* there's at least one place that sells a variety for colder temperatures. I'll see if I can locate it for you!
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1534
Location: Pacific Northwest
200
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I found the article where I read about some varieties doing better up north than others: http://chehalisvalley-altcrops.blogspot.com/2011/09/groundnut-apios-americana.html. Since the plants grow from Florida to Quebec, it makes sense that some of them are more resistant to cold than others. Norton Naturals sells a variety that comes from Ontario, at $1.50(canadia)/tuber. And, Oikos has a variety that grows well in England, though it is also out of stock.


In searching, I also found a few more sellers of groundnut that I had not known about previously. Herb Roots has the cheapest price I have yet to see: 25 tubers for $19.95! And, I found Tripple Brook Farm has the larger variety for $9.95/tuber, though they mention they've only really tested its hardiness down to zone 5.

I hope that helps!
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1236
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nicole, thanks so much for finding this for me. It's greatly appreciated.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 934
Location: RRV of da Nort
43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has anyone tried growing all 3 of groundnut, sunchoke, and prairie turnip (and maybe even yampa) to see how they might complement each other nutritionally or otherwise?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've tried repeatedly to grow Prairie Turnip with no luck so far.  No luck with Groundnut either.  This year looks good for Sunroot but not sure if they'll be reliably perennial; my previous planting died out.  And they are supposed to be so invasive!

 
Oh the stink of it! Smell my tiny ad!
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!