Squash are not known being team players in the garden, but are we giving them a fair chance? Squash will grow out and over everything in it’s path, but if you plant other vegetables at the base of your squash you solve many things at once, let me explain.
For example, the Three Sisters method was a smart interplanting solution invented by the Native Americans, including the Iroquois. Don’t believe me? Well, squash stars (well assists) in the beautiful flip side of the 2009 US Dollar coin. That is right, not only I say that squash can play fair in the garden, the evidence is minted.
Though I was not yet able to do a true, successful Three Sisters Native American planting technique, I’ve been able to keep true to the underlying truth that considered what plants need, and how those needs can be connected in a self caring system. I add in cherry tomatoes, or tomatillos, along with beans, corn, and squash. At times I add plantings of okra or sunflowers in lieu of corn. Tall stands of okra become an excellent resting spots for small birds that feed upon the pickle worm moths and other flying foes. They use the okra as a lookout spot before diving in for a bug. So for those of you who think that a squash farm is just squash, you are missing a lot of the fun, and a lot of the harvest. Not only does it create multiple crops from one watering and one application of fish emulsion, but it also is good for the soil.
Need more convincing? Please remember that squash vines will grow away from this central point, leaving the other plants to breathe. So give squash a chance in your small garden or farm. It will smother weeds, feed your family, and reduce water evaporation for those, like me, who grow in drought conditions. If the vines threatened to take over, prune them. It is that simple. There is little to lose, and much to gain.