Mike Barkley wrote:Interesting. Novia Scotia & a 5x8 space. With presumably a short squash growing season. One strong squash or pumpkin plant would fill the entire area. Have you considered some sort of trellis for extra squash? Perhaps on the east, west, & north sides.
Kim Arnold wrote:What if you plant a squash like zucchini or crooked-neck that doesn't really vine? I think the original three sisters used pumpkins and more "winter squash" kinds of plants, but we have choices. Zucchini tends to stay where you put it - and that can be helpful. Good luck with your garden! We just planted one with the students at school (which is a little sad since we're just getting ready to break for the summer).
Chris Kott wrote:I second the earlier thought. I would be careful to suit the species of squash to your season length, and perhaps something that will spread a bit from it's original footprint but doesn't really vine would be best. You'd have to plant more individual plants, but the yields off each should be increased and accelerated, with less vegetative growing needed.
I would also keep in mind that corn is wind-pollinated, so if your plants are spaced too far apart, you might have pollination issues. The last time I grew in the Three Sisters style, I did staggered double rows, such that the placement of plants between the two rows was offset. That way, the whole planting caught more of the breeze, filtering through rather than blowing around the plants through the spaces between.
I was also working with a smaller-leaved heirloom of squash related to the butternut, called the honey nut, which produced squash about 2/3rds the size of my typical butternut squash (so only about 12", as opposed to the usual 18"). It had slightly smaller leaves, so I decreased the space between double rows to one and a half feet.
I like to plant my squash on the shaded side of each doubled row, to grow through the staggered double rows of corn and to use the space between doubled rows as overflow. I have had younger corn plants smothered by aggressive squash, but then beans can do the same. It really is necessary to watch if managing it intensively to minimise losses, at least until the corn is tall enough.
Also, after a lackluster pollinator year in which I saw far fewer squash than the flowers had suggested, I started adding guilds of plants that would be in flower throughout the season, to increase local pollinator populations by feeding them. I no longer have that issue, and I benefit from other crops including, but not limited to, raspberries and mulberries, as well as sunflowers. There are a variety of medicinals and herbs that I encourage primarily for their benefit to pollinators as well.
Sounds like you have a workable plan, though. Let us know how you proceed, and good luck!
Mike Barkley wrote:I'd bet that garden does well. Looks good. I'd plant a few more peas though. But what do I know? ... my corn didn't sprout this year Not one. So it's mostly a 2 sister year with several different kinds of squash, pumpkins, cukes, & beans. Good luck!