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Who are the "Three Sisters"?

Do you feel like a better version of yourself around good friends? Plants also love being in good company!

Intercropping is the agricultural practice of planting more than one crop together. Some crops grow better when planted together! This is a technique used by some farmers today, but it is a practice that goes back for centuries. One of the most famous examples comes from the Iroquois people, and is known as the “Three Sisters.” The sisters are corn, beans, and squash. When these three crops are planted together, each “sister” provides the others with a unique benefit!

  • Sister Corn is tall and strong. Corn provides support for beans, which need something to climb up. The beans will climb up the corn stalk!

  • Sister Beans provides nutrients. Beans add nitrogen back into the soil, which is super important for the other plants to grow well!

  • Sister Squash keeps weeds away. Squash leaves are broad and low to the ground, creating lots of shade. The shade means that weeds don’t grow!

The Iroquois people have a story explaining how the Three Sisters came to be. Read the story of the Three Sisters, then colour them in. Read the story here!

*The story of the Three Sisters varies from tribe to tribe. The version linked here is an oral account by Lois Thomas of Cornwall Island.

Download to print colouring page:

Three Sisters
Download PDF • 7.40MB



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