SEVEN SISTERS COMPANION PLANTING

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The story of seven sisters companion planting comes directly from the Great Spirit. We have explored lessons of the Deer spirit http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2012/04/19/garden-lessons-from-the-deer-spirit/ and the origins of sisters Sun root and Strawberry. http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2012/05/23/sister-strawberry/ We’ve looked into the helpful contributions of Nature enjoyed and employed in the life and cultivation methods of our First Nations Peoples. To fully understand the concepts behind companion planting we must delve deeper still, the lessons here are ones that society itself are based on. The basic message of companion planting is community and co-operation, how one can not exist without the other. Just as in our Human communities each individual has talents and needs so do the plants and animals around us. To know which can offer what is an intimate knowledge, a familial bond born of co-dependency and trust. It’s this very belief, that we are deeply tied together with all life in this world that holds the truth behind the method. The story of the Seven Sisters is the story of a family.

When constructing a mound for Three Sisters cultivation, the central figure, be it Corn, Sun root or Sunflower, is referred to as the “Grandmother”. This is why we talk of their being Seven Sisters, not to confuse but to provide diversity and choice, for people,insects and animal life too. The Stem boring worms for example would destroy the Squash vine it attacked but it can be diverted to the Sunflower stalk where it does no damage. This sturdy stalk provides a reliable platform for the Bean to climb. The Bean plant in this family grouping represent the wisdom holder in a community, the librarian or educator for the group. By collecting these and other seeds at the end of the season the people ensure a new hope for food security in the following year. The Squash is a warrior or protector, the spiny undergrowth of this plant deters all sorts of larger pests like rodents. The large leaves hold moisture in the soil and prevent dehydration of the whole mound.

Companion planting has both practical and moral implications, the acknowledgment of individual contribution to the success of the group and the need for co-operation amongst all life is the basis for continued sustainability.

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