If you’re going to grow corn, squash, or beans in the garden anyway, you might as well grow all three. This trio of crops is referred to as the Three Sisters and is an age-old planting technique utilized by Native Americans. This growing method is called companion planting with corn, squash, and beans, but there are other plants to grow with corn that are just as compatible. Keep reading to find out about companion planting with corn and suitable corn plant companions.
Companion Plants for Corn
The Three Sisters are made up of corn, winter squash, and mature dry beans, not summer squash or green beans. Summer squash has a short shelf life and hardly any nutrition or calories while winter squash, with its thick outer rind, can be stored for months. Dried beans, unlike green, store for long periods of time and are packed with protein. The combination of these three created a subsistence diet that would have been augmented with fish and game.
Not only did this trio store well and provided calories, protein, and vitamins, but planting squash and beans next to corn had qualities that benefited each. The beans set nitrogen into the soil to be used by successive crops, the corn provided a natural trellis for the beans to clamber up, and the large squash leaves shaded the soil to cool it and retain moisture.
Additional Corn Plant Companions
Other companion plants for corn include:
Note: Not every plant works when companion gardening. Tomatoes, for instance, are a no-no for planting next to corn.
This is just a sampling of plants to grow with corn. Do your homework prior to planting corn in the garden to see which ones work well together and are also suited to your growing region.