You can tell they are sisters: one twines easily around the other in a relaxed embrace while the sweet baby sister lolls at their feet, close, but not too close — cooperating, not competing. Seems to me I’ve seen this before in human families, in the interplay of sisters. After all, there are three girls in my family. The firstborn girl knows she is clearly in charge; tall and direct, upright and efficient, she creates the template for everyone else to follow. That’s the corn sister. There’s not room for more than one corn woman in the same house, so the middle sister is likely to adapt in different ways. This bean girl learns to be flexible, adaptable, to find a way around the dominant structure to get the light she needs. The sweet baby sister is free to choose a different path, as expectations have already been fulfilled. Well grounded, she has nothing to prove and finds her own way, a way that contributes to the good of the whole.
— Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Three Sisters,” Braiding Sweetgrass
I finished this essay last night and was immediately inspired to try a Three Sisters garden while we’re still early in the planting season: Hickory Cane Dent Corn, ‘Iron and Clay’ Cowpeas, and Small Sugar Pumpkins. I expect to battle squash bugs with the pumpkins as usual, but maybe I can get enough of them to hold out for a decent harvest. We’ve tried sweet corn before and had decent success, but it never seems to yield enough for the space it requires. We’d need a whole lot of it to be worthwhile. This will be our first try with a flour corn variety.