Tuesday, October 28, 2014

3 Sisters

Multicropping is a great way for smallholders to get more bang for their dinar.  Consequently we have invested heavily in a technique called "3 Sisters" that combines corn, beans and squash or zucchini.  This combination combines a stalk producer (corn) to provide a platform on which soil enriching beans can climb as well as a ground shading broad leaf producer to reduce evaporation (zucchini/squash).  Corn and beans are planted every 60cm, instead of every 30, to ensure that the other plants receive plenty of light.  In order to achieve more consistency in this three part system we invested heavily in its success.

Firstly, several seeds were planted near each water emitter in our drip irrigation system to ensure consistent germination of all the needed components.  Secondly, we invested in lint film to cover and protect each row.  As is evident from the photographs below the two part strategy is working.  Corn and beans are springing up together and zucchini/squash sites are almost universally germinated.  This bodes well for a good harvest and an effective new technique to demonstrate to Jordan Valley farmers.

Corn and climbing beans on the left and zucchini on the right

Protective lint is laid over each row with room for plants to push it up as they grow

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