There is an Indigenous practice of growing corn, beans and squash in the same bed as a form of companion planting. This inter-planting allows each to thrive and support each other similar to three inseparable sisters.
There are many variations of the three sisters garden, and this is what it looks like at the Luther Glen Garden. We have non-GMO corn, the first of the sisters planted growing tall and strong. We have sugar snap peas planted right next to the corn that vine up the corn, using the stalk as a trellis. The peas are a legume that fix nitrogen, meaning they take nitrogen from the air and bring it down to their roots allowing the other sisters to absorb it from the soil. Finally, we have pumpkins that like to sprawl and cover the soil around the corn and peas. The pumpkin plant acts as a living mulch, covering the soil and reducing evapotranspiration (water loss from soil to atmosphere), while also suppressing weeds. The prickly nature of the squash vines keep critters away who might normally nibble on the fruits of the others.
This practice is applicable to our lives as well! We each have different gifts and when we work together we can support, uplift, and allow each other to thrive.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”