I hope this picture isn't too confusing. It's the best I can do.
The Three Sisters is growing corn, beans and winter squash as the Native American people did for many centuries. Each plant has it's own job, and not only work well in the garden, but when eaten together, are excellent nutrition and complete protein.
How to plant: Plant your corn seed in blocks of 4 feet, 1 corn seed every 12 inches (1 foot) each way. At the same time, plant your winter squash seed, one in between every 1 corn seeds. Water well, and tend. Be careful when weeding as you might pull up a corn or squash seedling!
When the corn seedling is about 6 inches high, plant 2-4 bean seeds (that's the green "B" in the pic) around each corn seedling. You want to wait this long because if not, the quick growth of the bean will outstrip the corn, and the corn will never get to it's complete full height.
Make sure you don't plant just 4 long rows. You need to plant in blocks of at least 4 feet x 4 feet so that the wind can pollinate all of your little corn tassels. And do you need to plant lots and lots to get a little corn? NO! In our first garden, we planted about 40 corn seeds, and about the same of beans and, well, don't get me started talking about our mistakes with the squash. But the corn was cross-pollinated excellently. We pulled about 60 ears that were pretty-well pollinated. Many we ate right there in the garden... just pulled back the husk and munched it down!
We also planted a couple of different kinds of corn... Blue Hopi, Bloody Butcher, and Early and Often Sweet Corn. They had somewhat different maturing dates, so there was only a little cross-pollination. Those that did were hilarious to look at! We found an odd blue kernel on a sweet corn, and finding the red kernels were great fun.
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Okay, back to info. Be careful when choosing your seeds. Get corn where the stalks will be sturdy enough to handle the winding of the beans. The new hybrids didn't seem to have stalks thick enough. Be careful with the beans too: you need beans that won't strangle the corn stalks.
For our next growing season, I chose Black Aztec corn (good when young to eat as sweet corn, and once it dries, it is good for making cornmeal and good for livestock).
For beans I chose Missouri Wonder Pole Bean (see: http://rareseeds.com/cart/products/Missouri_Wonder_Pole_Bean-1244-119.html )as they didn't strangle the corn when we grew them last. Experiment. These beans make a good fresh string bean, but also a good dried bean.
For squash, grow ONLY winter squash - those that vine! I made the mistake our first year of growing all kinds of squash, including summer squash like zucchini, and believe me, it was a mistake. The zucchini just pushed over the corn stalk to make room for it's own self! If you don't care about pollination and keeping seeds, you could plant all kinds of winter squash, like spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin, acorn, and more. If you do prefer to keep varieties separate, carefully chose to keep from cross-breeding.
I hope this wasn't too confusing. Vikki