2017 Kitchen Garden Plans – Three Sisters

2017 Kitchen Garden Plans – Three Sisters

At the end of the season last year I was 98% sure we wouldn’t plant a kitchen garden at all this year.

This decision was two-fold:

  1. We’d had our asses handed to us throughout the season and
  2. With my new job working alongside the Farmers’ Market, I had fresh produce available for the purchasing multiple times a week

But as summer slid into fall and then into winter, I began longing to stick my hands in the soil. . .to move my body and sow some seeds. . .to pick fresh peas and eat them right then and there. . .to watch Ember learn and explore and sow and harvest and eat to her heart’s content.

And so, despite last year’s challenges, we begin our 2017 Kitchen Gardening plans!

Our #1 Goal?  Keep it Simple!

Or, as simple as possible, at least!

We will plant out a good portion of our Kitchen Garden with the Three Sisters and focus on corn, bean, and squash varieties that are harvested dry or semi-cured.

  • Blue Corn – This variety of corn has been grown locally for years and years and has withstood up to six weeks with zero water (due to drought and acequia issues. This corn produces long uniform, beautiful ears whose kernels are ground into polenta and flour. The ears can also be used for decorations.
  • Pinto BeansA staple in our diet, these beans have yet to be grown by us because we’ve never (until now) had enough space to warrant the effort given the small harvests we would have seen historically. I’m excited to see how much we can get from our designated space.
  • Bolita Beans – This bean is new to us, only having been introduced to it last summer at the Market. It is a bean that was brought to New Mexico by the Spanish centuries ago and has done well here ever since.  It has a creamier taste than the Pinto Bean and takes about 30 days longer to mature than the Pinto.
  • A Winter Squash – While I haven’t decided which winter squash to grow yet, I’m really hoping to find some Butternut that has proven to grow well here.  Although, a local farmer recently recommended I try as many varieties of Butternut as I can find and then select the one that does best this year for my future plantings.  Sounds like a good idea in theory, but more work than I was hoping and our Lease in only signed here through Spring of 2018. While we don’t anticipate moving anytime soon, nothing is guaranteed.

So, with two of our Three Sisters secured, I’m officially on the hunt for our Third Sister.

I’m also, officially, reinspired to get our garden in shape for the coming season and not give up on growing a good portion of our food right here on the property (you know, in addition to all the eggs and poultry we now provide for ourselves).

And now to decide on the rest of the garden.

In an extended effort to keep it simple, I’ve started with a list of what we actually eat (imagine that).  I’ll post more on this shortly 🙂

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your gardening goals for the coming season or year!  Are you expanding or reducing your production?  Did you have a phenomenal last season or experience some of the challenges and learning curves we did?


Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm


  1. Linda

    My last season garden ( heading towards Autumn here in Australia ) was abysmal. NOTHING did well. Nothing 🙁 I’m not even contemplating a winter garden yet….I’ve put in some chard/silverbeet seeds, soon will put in English spinach and garlic and that’s it. We had a slow start to summer, followed by HOT. My plants are all a mix of cool temperate and temperate as that’s our usual climate.

    I love the concept of a three sisters garden! I’m looking forward to seeing how hours goes!

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      Ugh…it’s so hard to *not harvest the fruits of your labor! We’ve had some *rough growing seasons and they always leave me questioning why the heck we even try…and yet we always try again 😉 I guess we’re just eternally hopeful!

      Are you seeing different weather patterns where you are? Our local Farmers here are being continually challenged by storms and temp difference and pests and diseases that are new and different or sped up/more intense, etc.

      1. Linda

        Hey Melissa, I think the weather is different, but not unusual. I’m NOT a climate change denier, but so far, the weather changes have all be seen historically, so they haven’t become far from what’s happened in the past. I think though, difference is enough to catch you off guard. And yes, eternal optimism as we seed save from the 6yo purple beans lol

  2. crafty_cristy

    THanks for your kind thoughts, Melissa. I am still leaning toward planting flowers. Help the bees and pollinators and all that. I had a butterfly garden at my old home that was SO JOYFUL!! I was able to see a whole host of fritillary butterflies emerge from chrysalid. Totally AWESOME experience. I think I’d rather have that sort of joy right now than the sort of challenge that food gardens have provided lately.

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      A flower garden sounds amazing, Cristy! And I don’t blame you one bit! Follow your butterfly and bee-filled bliss! Surely you can find local fruits and veggies to appease your taste buds 🙂

  3. crafty_cristy

    It was a rough year here, as we have discussed. I really don’t know what to do for this year, even now. I am leaning toward flowers only. I was hoping to decide by March 7. Until then, I have held off on most of the puchases. A few small things snuck through.

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      Ah yes, I’ve been thinking about you. We’re in similar boats on our individual Learning Curves and yes, it’s rough! Maybe a scaled down version of your dream garden will suffice? A few of this, a couple of that? I wish you luck with whatever you decide, Cristy <3

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