Edible Landscaping

Q and A

Question: I've heard of the Three Sisters Garden where Native Americans grew pole beans, corn, and squash all together. How do you grow pole beans on corn stalks?

Answer: Growing pole beans on corn stalks is a matter of timing. After all danger of frost has passed in your area, create a mound of soil 10 inches high and 3 feet in diameter. Choose a tall corn variety, such as 'Country Gentlemen'. Flatten the top of the mound and plant 7 sweet corn seeds in the center, spacing the seeds about 4 inches apart. After 2 weeks or when the corn plants are at least 10 inches tall, sow 6 pole bean seeds in a circle 6 inches away from the corn plants. Keep the mound weeded and watered. When the pole beans are a few inches tall, train them to climb by gently wrapping the shoots around the corn stalks. Once started the beans will continue to climb on their own.

Question: How can I grow my blueberries in containers?

Answer: Blueberries make excellent container plants but you'll have to create a special potting mix for them. Blueberries need acidic soil conditions to thrive. Start with a 16- to 20-inch-wide container. Create your own potting soil that contains 1 part peat moss, 1 part bark chips (for drainage), 1 part potting soil, and a handful of elemental sulfur. Choose lowbush or half-high varieties, such as 'Northblue'. Although these varieties will produce less fruit that highbush varieties, they are shorter and will be easier to manage in the container. Keep the soil well watered and fertilized monthly with an acidifying fertilizer. In fall after the first frost, move the container into a protected area, such as a shed or unheated garage, for the winter. Blueberries need a cool period in winter, but extreme cold will kill the containerized plant.

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