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Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Presidents Day!

Today is Presidents Day and all of the kids are off from school, so sadly we had no classes to work with. This might have been for the better because there was plenty to do in the garden during our 11:00-1:00 shift. Breege and I started off by redrawing the layout of the garden on the white board, since there were a couple outdated beds. Katy weeded all the beds as we did this, and then together we planted some Nasturtium seeds between groups of plants and at the end of one of the beds. Nasturtium is a brightly colored flower that spreads out as it grows (almost like a vine), and the best part about it is its edible! We finished the day by watering all but one of the beds, which was a much longer process than I thought. I can’t wait for the irrigation system to be up and running!

The only bed we did not water was the “Three Sisters Bed”, simply because it had no plants in it yet. Last week I asked Robin why it was given this name and she answered that it represents corn, beans, and squash as "three sisters" that grow and thrive best when together. This intrigued me, so I did a little more research to learn the story behind this method of planting. 

The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit and that each are watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or “Our Sustainers". Ceremonies are performed during planting season in honor of them and the story of the Three Sisters is passed down from generation to generation. It is amazing how the different plants operate so harmoniously together: the corn provides a natural pole for the beans to climb, the beans fix nitrogen on their roots to provide nutrients for the corn and squash and the vines also stabilize the corn plants, and the squash vines shade the weeds and reduce soil moisture from evaporating. The spines of the squash plants also prevent predators from invading the corn and beans. These three vegetables also compliment each other nutritionally- the corn provides a good supply of carbohydrates, the beans are an excellent source of protein, and the squash is rich in vitamins.

I can’t wait until we start to plant in this bed so we can teach the kids this story and the importance of our connection to the history of the land, despite where we come from or what our background is.


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