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One technique known as companion planting, the three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops
The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch", creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests.
According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. Growing a Three Sisters garden is a wonderful way to feel more connected to the history of this land, regardless of our ancestry
Virtually all home-garden-supply seed houses supply seed in far too great a quantity for the average home gardener (even those that famously sell small packets at lower prices). The home gardener will thus often want to save seeds bought one year for use in a later year. The question that must arise, then, is how long can we keep seeds and still expect them to germinate and grow when planted?
There are no exact answers: seeds are living things. Moreover, much depends on how the seed is stored. And there is no drop-dead cutoff point either, just reduced percentages of germination, and what is "too low" a germination rate may vary from gardener to gardener (and even fresh, newly bought seeds will not invariably germinate 100%)
Seed Lifespan or Longevity
How long your seeds will last when the packet is opened will vary according to the seed, storage conditions and how near the end of its life the seed was when packed. The table is a guide, subject to the caveats above.
Checking Seed Germination Rate
If you have a left over packet of seeds that you are unsure of, perhaps it's been kept in poor conditions or results weren't what you expected then you can check the germination rate for your seeds.
To germinate, your seeds need to think they've been sown so take a piece of kitchen roll and dampen it. Onto the damp kitchen roll put a number of seeds, 20 is good if you have a lot, and place into a plastic bag or Tupperware type container. Put into somewhere dark and warm, an airing cupboard or a closed cupboard in an occupied room.
Check the seeds to see which have sprouted and if they fail then you haven't wasted time and effort planting them. The table above gives the average germination time for each seed, so you know how long to wait before declaring a failure. Often they germinate well before the average time, so check frequently.
Originally posted by Resentedhalo08
I do however have a few questions if anyone can help?
Firstly, will planting lot's of flowers in the garden alongside the vegetables aid them? By attracting bee's and the like to help germination?
Secondly, what effective pest control methods can I put in place so that I don't have all my lettuces etc nibbled by the slugs and other pests?
Would putting seed baskets and a bird bath to encourage birds into the garden help with some of the pests?edit on 6-6-2011 by Resentedhalo08 because: (no reason given)