Zucchini, potato and corn guild

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by annette, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    After studying companion planting for a while I decided on this guild in one of my raised beds. The only problem I can see is that the corn will get fairly high and I will need to cover them somehow to keep the critters off. It all seems to be growing well together, two rows of corn on a diagonal, potatoes here and there, and six zucchini plants intermingled with a trailing rosemary bush and 1 eggplant. As the potatoes grow I am just heaping up some soil and sugar cane mulch around them, leaving the zucchinis to get a little shade from that and the corn.

    So the level of the bed is uneven and I wasn't worried but then realised I haven't seen anyone else do it. Anyone tried this combo or an uneven bed?
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I haven't used that particular combo annette, but I often end up with uneven beds, especially when potatoes are involved. I haven't had any problems with it, but you have to be carefull that the raised bits get enough of the moisture. There have been times when I thought the bed was well watered, but found that the potato mound was a little dry. That may have had more to do with the poorer quality of the soil in the first few years.
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    add beans.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    A question on that - I want to do beans, corn, zucchini in about a month - I'll buy corn and zucchini seedlings and I have saved bean seeds. Can I plant the bean seeds at the same time as the corn seedlings or will that still be too close in terms of time and the beans will not have something to grow up? How do people manage the timing on their 3 sisters guild?
     
  5. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Good question Eco. I was going to wait until the corn is quite high before planting some beans. That way I can use the stalks as a trellis. There is an advantage to planting at the same time though as you can finish it all off at the same time and dig in or leave the green manure on top till the autumn crop with something different.
     
  6. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Some people say to wait on the beans a few weeks, but I plant them all together. If the corn is slow because of cool weather, the beans just grow on the ground until the corn catches up.

    Then, if one plants a bush-type squash, be sure it is on the sun side of the corn, unless of course, the sun is always straight overhead, then you might have to spread out the corn, as the corn will shade it out. I will plant vining squash plants, then as soon as the corn is up shading the ground, the vines will seek the sun!

    Now I am not saying I know it all, just telling you what I do know... :)


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwWXyOD00fQ
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Umm, I had abit of trouble planting root crops in between the corn.

    I did parsnip under one lot and kumara under another.
    I found the roots of the corn were so tough, when it came time to harvest the kumara and parsnips,it was differcult to get them out from under the corn.
     
  8. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    I'm hoping I have planted the potatoes far enough away from the corn. Otherwise Mischief I'm in trouble, could disturb the corn roots when harvesting the tatas. bugger.. Oh well will have to see how it goes, it's too late to rip out the corn. Thanks for the advice y'all.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks Rick - will remember to consider the sun angle when planting.
     
  10. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Squashes & Corn at same time, beans after the corn is about 1/3 M tall.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks Pak!
     
  12. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    So I wake up this early morning with an idea based on the hail storm that wiped out all the leaves on the squash, corn, and beans, six weeks after planting them all together, at the same time, in the garden, this year. Yet, I have some of the best corn I have ever grown.

    It could be the stress is what triggered this huge production. The more than normal amount of fish buried six weeks before the corn was planted, probably helped out. But what I am thinking is, could the beans have released some nitrogen into the soil when most of it was wiped out, the same as a chop and drop tree would? Am thinking of the graphic on the PDC Course that cutting the branches of the trees will kill and release to soil life just as many of the roots, and thus the nitrogen.

    So based on this observation, it could be better to plant the beans early, for the sake of science we can use different time periods, but to work through my idea, say two weeks before the corn. Then, four weeks after the corn is planted, when the bean plants are all over the ground (shading the ground earlier would be another benefit) then cut them back to below the corn height.

    This should release the nitrogen just when the corn begins its journey skyward. What do you think?
     
  13. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    wow, great hypothesis Rick. The beans could have released a lot of nitrogen when the hail storm hit. I suppose we need to find out if corn does well with a hit of nitrogen at a specific time in the growing period. I'm thinking I should have buried some prawn shells before I planted too.

    It's all good experimentation and sharing the learning hey?
     
  14. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Yep. As long as their is feedback! Thanks. :)
     
  15. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    Stress(hail damage in this instance) usually increases crop production(you can intentionally damage citrus trees to make them flower again, for instance...a hail storm made all my citrus trees flower for the second time this year. Stress reproduction also applies to animals). Any time there is die back(can be from any plant really), the roots will also die off. This is another part of chop-n-drop mulching to cycle nutrients(and is the only way some plants will release fixed nitrogen), this time it just happens to be underground and not visible like organic material composting in the mulch layer. Corn is a heavy feeder, so any excess nitrogen(up to a point) will only help growth. I don't suggest stressing your plants intentionally, because you never know what mother nature will throw at you. And we all know that stressed plants don't deal well with disease and pests.
     
  16. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Thanks for the coment. What do you think about the chop-n-drop bean idea?
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I might give it a go - plant it all at the same time and give the beans a prune to keep them behind the corn. It might bring the beans into better production too.
     
  18. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    The 4th sister by the way for the "Southwest" was Rocky Mountain Bee Plant

    Many other areas had a 4th sister as well, but that information is now locked in oral histories of elders.

    "3" is viewed as incomplete amongst many indigenous tribes in the Americas.
     
  19. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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  20. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    I am now thinking that it takes time for the beans and bacteria to create the nitogen, like 45 days or something? So maybe two weeks before corn one does beans, the thrity days or so after the corn, when the corn is say, knee high, then do a chop-n-drop. Maybe even plant an extra bean to totally sacrifice for the corn..
     

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