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Balancing fertility in Three Sisters garden  RSS feed

 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 255
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I have a 1/4-acre patch that has been seeded in the traditional Three Sisters of corn, beans, and squash.  I'm trying to transition over to a no-till system, and the first step in that direction was a heavy mulching around the hills.  Out of 15 rows of hills, I was able to mulch the first three rows, some with manured bedding from a local goat dairy, and some with chicken and duck brooder bedding.  After those three rows, I ran out of mulch material, and got busy with other things otherwise.

The corn plants in those first three rows, as might be expected, are decidedly taller and darker green than the remainder of the plants, the result of plenty of nitrogen.  My concern, though, is that a high-nitrogen level (that is, a nitrogen level that is sufficient for heavy feeders like corn and squash) might adversely affect the beans, causing them to grow lush plants but few actual bean pods.

Any thoughts?  Will the corn and squash use up the available nitrogen, allowing the bean plants to produce adequately, or is a fertile piece of ground in a Three Sisters planting likely to favor the corn and squash at the expense of the beans?
 
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