The four sisters


Sunlight streams through the willow hedge onto the ‘four sisters’

When I wrote about the ‘three sisters‘ planting that I did earlier in the year, I promised I would report on how it has progressed. Well, the situation so far is good – beans are flowering, we have already harvested our first courgettes and the flint corn is shooting up. However, I have to confess that I introduced an extra sister into the mix by including sunflowers, and these too are doing well.

You may be wondering about the sunflowers and I have to admit that growing them was unintentional (although not unwelcome). We feed a mix containing sunflower seeds to the wild birds in the garden. Earlier in the year I left a tub-trug containing compost near to one of the window feeders and clearly not all of the seeds that the birds dislodged got eaten. Thus, when I planted my intentional seeds in pots, I got some sunflowers too. Never liking to let anything go to waste, I planted these in with the three sisters combination of corn, curcurbits (courgette and squash) and beans. And, my word they are doing well. No only that, but my transplants have been joined by some self-seeded individuals (volunteers) that have appeared directly in the bed.

The UK is currently experiencing very sunny weather, so I have high hopes for this bed, although I can’t see any winter squash fruit setting yet, and the female flowers on the corn are only just appearing. It certainly looks like there will be a good harvest of both beans and courgettes anyway, and I’ll let you judge the prospects for the fourth sister:

Good morning sunflower!

Good morning sunflower!

Leave a comment


  1. Ann Owen

     /  July 18, 2013

    Flint corn huh? You optimist! If you do manage to get it to ripen, here’s an article on how to make hominy:


    • The flint corn is from Carol Deppe, who claims it grows when ordinary sweetcorn won’t… we’ll see! Anyway, the seeds were given to me, so I have nothing to lose.


  2. Brotherkith

     /  July 18, 2013

    Reblogged this on Kith’s Eco-blog and commented:
    Testing out the new content feed by using this blog post.


  3. You are in good company! I think many Native Americans also used sunflowers with their sisters.


  1. Gifts From Three Sisters | Food Blooms
  2. Sunflower seeds | The Snail of Happiness
  3. Three out of four ain’t bad | The Snail of Happiness

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