My neighbor was showing me through his vegetable garden yesterday and his prized area was what he called his Three Sisters Garden.
Originally developed by Native Americans many centuries ago, the Three Sisters Garden has three main elements *duh…*.
Sown together in a mound are corn (in this case sweet corn), climbing beans and squash. The theory goes like this.
Make a mound about 4ft across, in the middle plant a circle of corn seeds (about 15cm apart). Wait until the corn has germinated and grown to ~10cm in height, then plant a circle of climbing beans around the outside. After the beans have germinated and grown ~10cm, twisting around the corn seedlings, plant a ring of squash around the outside of the beans.
The Corn provides a great pole for the climbing beans to grow up, the beans attach nitrogen to their roots, providing food for the corn and squash, while the squash provide shade to prevent weeds and keep moisture in the soil.
This method is working well here in Australia, when I get a little more space in my garden I’ll give this a go, maybe I will get some better results from the corn than I have had in the past.