The project, “Three Sisters Gardening in Midwestern Native American Nations,” has already garnered results that show the Native practice of intercropping the “three sisters” — corn, beans and squash — improved soil quality.
“We’re not telling Native farmers and gardeners something they don’t already know,” Hill said. “They’ve seen it over the course of hundreds, if not thousands, of years … so they may not have had the technology that we use today, but they had other scientific practices.”
The corn works as a trellis that beans can climb while the beans secured to corn for more durability through high winds. The beans and corn tended to be healthier when grown together due to bacteria living on the bean, Hill said.amestrib ISU research shows how Native agriculture benefits soil, ecosystem