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Brandon Greer
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I'm looking to change the beans and squash which I grow in my 3 sisters garden this year. I'm looking at Genuine Cornfield Beans (for dry beans) which shows to be about 80 days and Blue Hubbard Squash which shows as 110 days. In order not to disturb the squash, which is planted at the same time as the beans, I would have to allow the beans to sit in the field an additional 30 days. Would this be ok to allow the beans to stay out there this long after finishing?
 
chip sanft
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I don't know about that specific variety of bean, but in my experience with others, if they stay out in the garden past the point of dryness, the pods start to break open and drop the beans on the ground. They also can get very hard to harvest, because they crack open when you grab them. But couldn't you just step carefully and grab carefully and harvest the beans while the squash are ripening? That seems doable to me...
 
Wes Hunter
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I've never had too much trouble with dry pods popping open (though it does happen--dependent on variety, I think), but I have found that dry pods that get rained on are quite likely to discolor and/or develop mold.  And in my experience the beans will mature over the course of a few weeks, anyway.  The same will be true of the squash, and the corn for that matter, so it's not as though you'll have one or two "harvest days" and then be done.  Point being, I think you're just going to have to deal with getting in there and stepping carefully and harvesting things as they're ready.

Turkey Craw is a good cornfield bean too, for what it's worth.  I've found them to be very productive.  We also grew Genuine Cornfield, Cherokee Cornfield, and Good Mother Stallard last year; all did well.
 
Casie Becker
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I haven't had a lot of beans split and fall on me, but when I don't pick beans I lose a lot to mildew. I typically don't find them until long after they've dried, though. This means they've been subjected to several rains and often long periods of high humidity. If your area isn't too wet or humid at that time of the year, I think I'd be willing to try it at least once.
 
chip sanft
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That's weird that nobody else has beans that break open. Could the birds be getting to ours? Hmm. Or maybe I'm just lazier than everyone else and it takes longer for me to get to them...
 
Wes Hunter
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chip sanft wrote:That's weird that nobody else has beans that break open. Could the birds be getting to ours? Hmm. Or maybe I'm just lazier than everyone else and it takes longer for me to get to them...


It happens, just not that often.  I believe there is an associated gene that causes the dry pods to burst open, spreading the seeds, which has been largely bred out for obvious reasons.  Presumably some varieties and/or strains still have this gene, to a greater or lesser extent.
 
Brandon Greer
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Wes Hunter wrote:I've never had too much trouble with dry pods popping open (though it does happen--dependent on variety, I think), but I have found that dry pods that get rained on are quite likely to discolor and/or develop mold.  And in my experience the beans will mature over the course of a few weeks, anyway.  The same will be true of the squash, and the corn for that matter, so it's not as though you'll have one or two "harvest days" and then be done.  Point being, I think you're just going to have to deal with getting in there and stepping carefully and harvesting things as they're ready.

Turkey Craw is a good cornfield bean too, for what it's worth.  I've found them to be very productive.  We also grew Genuine Cornfield, Cherokee Cornfield, and Good Mother Stallard last year; all did well.


As far as yield goes, how did Turkey Craw compare to Genuine Cornfield? I'm reading that Turkey Craw is 80 - 100 days. I'm guessing that the low end is for greens and the high end for dry? Did you leave any for dry beans and if so about how long did they take to reach that point?
 
Wes Hunter
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Brandon Greer wrote:As far as yield goes, how did Turkey Craw compare to Genuine Cornfield? I'm reading that Turkey Craw is 80 - 100 days. I'm guessing that the low end is for greens and the high end for dry? Did you leave any for dry beans and if so about how long did they take to reach that point?


The Turkey Craw seemed a lot more productive on a yield-per-foot-of-row basis, but it's kind of hard to say because I didn't keep records, and the fact that I'm a really inadequate weeder could disproportionately affect yields.  That said, the Genuine Cornfield were planted right next to the Turkey Craw, so direct environmental factors will have been largely the same.  The Turkey Craw at least left me with the impression that they were really teeming with pods, whereas I can't say the same for any of the others.  I'll say, too, that I have noticed significant differences in plant growth in a quite small space in our garden (different soil types), so that could be a factor, though if it was an obvious one last year I didn't make a note of it.  In short, apparently: gee I don't really know.

We ate some as green beans, but most were left to dry.  I don't recall exactly how long it took, except that the Turkey Craw seemed to mature over a considerably longer period, and even after harvesting dry beans off some vines I was harvesting green beans off others.  There were some Genuine Cornfield that matured relatively early, but most seemed to hang on the vine forever before they finally dried.
 
Maureen Atsali
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I do 3 sisters, but I have never tried to line up varieties for a simultaneous harvest.  I usually go in and harvest beans first, then maize, and lastly squash.  And we eat leaves from the squash all season long, as one of our favorite green veggies.  So we walk through the plot all the time.  Even if we accidentally step on a vine here and there it doesn't seem to deter or harm the squash, which tend to put down extra roots along the way anyway. 

I couldn't leave my beans out.  I also seem to have the varieties that break open and drop their seeds if left too long.  And mildew and insects also become a problem when left on the field.
 
Mark Morgan
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As for timing I plant the corn and squash first. Then after the corn is about six inches or a little taller I plant the beans as they usually shoot up pretty quick. We grow silver mine corn and Missouri wonder pole beans. We don't have any trouble with those beans shattering when we pick them. I sneak in and pick beans to eat all summer long as well without to much of an issue. They are prolific and we have plenty of dry beans at the end of the season too.
 
Brandon Greer
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Wes Hunter wrote:
Brandon Greer wrote:As far as yield goes, how did Turkey Craw compare to Genuine Cornfield? I'm reading that Turkey Craw is 80 - 100 days. I'm guessing that the low end is for greens and the high end for dry? Did you leave any for dry beans and if so about how long did they take to reach that point?


The Turkey Craw seemed a lot more productive on a yield-per-foot-of-row basis, but it's kind of hard to say because I didn't keep records, and the fact that I'm a really inadequate weeder could disproportionately affect yields.  That said, the Genuine Cornfield were planted right next to the Turkey Craw, so direct environmental factors will have been largely the same.  The Turkey Craw at least left me with the impression that they were really teeming with pods, whereas I can't say the same for any of the others.  I'll say, too, that I have noticed significant differences in plant growth in a quite small space in our garden (different soil types), so that could be a factor, though if it was an obvious one last year I didn't make a note of it.  In short, apparently: gee I don't really know.

We ate some as green beans, but most were left to dry.  I don't recall exactly how long it took, except that the Turkey Craw seemed to mature over a considerably longer period, and even after harvesting dry beans off some vines I was harvesting green beans off others.  There were some Genuine Cornfield that matured relatively early, but most seemed to hang on the vine forever before they finally dried.


I read that the Genuine Cornfield is very much like a pinto bean. How would you describe the taste and use of Turkey Craw? Sorry for all the questions.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Due to biology, I plant corn about a month before beans  or squash, because corn is more cold tolerant.

 
Brandon Greer
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Maureen Atsali wrote:I do 3 sisters, but I have never tried to line up varieties for a simultaneous harvest.  I usually go in and harvest beans first, then maize, and lastly squash.  And we eat leaves from the squash all season long, as one of our favorite green veggies.  So we walk through the plot all the time.  Even if we accidentally step on a vine here and there it doesn't seem to deter or harm the squash, which tend to put down extra roots along the way anyway. 

I couldn't leave my beans out.  I also seem to have the varieties that break open and drop their seeds if left too long.  And mildew and insects also become a problem when left on the field.


Can you describe your spacing? I place corn and beans in the same mound and space those 4' center to center. Squash is planted in its own smaller mound and staggered between the corn mounts. See the image attached. The yellow circles are corn and blue are squash. With this spacing, things get pretty crowded in there. I couldn't imagine traipsing into the mix until things start to die back a bit. Perhaps yours is arranged differently?
3-Sisters.png
[Thumbnail for 3-Sisters.png]
 
Maureen Atsali
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Brandon, I plant in lines.  I drop in maize seed every 18 inches or so, beans every 6 inches, and squash every three feet.  Lines are about 2 feet apart.  During the first weeding I mound up the soil along the lines a bit.  I put everything in the ground at the same time.  I can, because I am in the tropics.  The type of beans I prefer aren't as viney as a traditional pole bean.  They still climb, but are more compact, so they don't out pace the maize.  Mostly the beans tangle around the maize, and the squash run amuck where they please.  So the isles between the rows are sort of passable.
 
Wes Hunter
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Brandon Greer wrote:I read that the Genuine Cornfield is very much like a pinto bean. How would you describe the taste and use of Turkey Craw? Sorry for all the questions.


We haven't eaten any of the Genuine Cornfield, so I can't comment on their culinary qualities.  I planted one packet of seed (from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange), and am keeping all of last year's harvest for replanting this year.

I really like the Turkey Craw.  Nice, plump, meaty beans that cook up well without getting mushy.  They have a nice toothsome quality, I'd say.  I think we've got about 3 gallons of dry beans in the pantry, and I am quite looking forward to eating them.

Only problem is they're a bit of a pain to thresh.  The pods are nice and meaty, too, and don't shatter easily when mature, unlike most varieties that are grown primarily for dry beans.
 
Wes Hunter
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Maureen Atsali wrote:Brandon, I plant in lines.  I drop in maize seed every 18 inches or so, beans every 6 inches, and squash every three feet.  Lines are about 2 feet apart.  During the first weeding I mound up the soil along the lines a bit.  I put everything in the ground at the same time.  I can, because I am in the tropics.  The type of beans I prefer aren't as viney as a traditional pole bean.  They still climb, but are more compact, so they don't out pace the maize.  Mostly the beans tangle around the maize, and the squash run amuck where they please.  So the isles between the rows are sort of passable.


I find that all quite surprising.  The past couple years I've planted mine similar to what you describe, but with the rows spaced about 40" apart.  I give the corn about a 6" head start before beans and squash go in, but even with that the beans grow rampantly, often pulling down corn stalks.  They'll even grow across the rows, basically tying adjacent rows together.  It doesn't happen over the entire garden, but there will be sections of pathway that are impassable due to the tangle of bean vines and corn stalks.  Maybe the difference is in the vining ability of the beans?  I suppose half-runner types would be easier to manage in this regard.
 
Maureen Atsali
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Yeah, here and there the vines will cross between the rows.  If its seriously in my way, I'll just cut it.  I plant between a quarter and a half an acre, depending on where the rotation is that season, so I don't worry too much if I damage a few vines over the course of a season. 

I didn't take any pictures last season, because I wasn't really active on permies by then.  And my mother in law's pigs really made a mess of it.  My harvest was almost non existant.  I am really angry about that, as it really set back my breeding attempts and seed saving.  I can't afford to fence everything, and MIL is a really neglegent, irresponsible animal keeper.  (Her farm borders ours in the southeast side.) I debated whether I even wanted to plant my 3 sisters again this year, or if I should just wait for a fence.  But I am a glutton for punishment... I should be starting to put seeds in the ground next week, and I'll put pictures on my project thread if anyone is interested.
 
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