Archive for Three Sisters

Hidatsa Shield Beans

Posted in Food, Gardening, Horticulture, Nature with tags , , , , , , on 2012/07/08 by rmolby

Beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hidatsa Shield Beans – Sustainable Seed Co.

I have ordered these beans from Seed Savers but have not tried to sow them yet, maybe next year, but I want to record the description from Sustainable Seed Co. since it describes the Three Sisters planting method really well.

From the above linked site:

Seed package contains 1 oz. or about 50 beans.

Deep in the Missouri River Valley of North Dakota the Hidatsa Indians grew this pole type drying bean in their corn fields.  The Indians were masters of growing plants that were helpful to each other such as the “Three Sisters”.

How the Three Sisters work…Beans/Corn/Squash
The Indians planted the corn first, once it was a few inches in height, they planted the hidatsa beans at the base of each corn stalks.  Normally 3-4 hidatsa seeds per corn stalk.  Then they planted squash.

This is how that works out…the corn gives the beans something to grow on.  Thehidatsa beans fix nitrogen at the base of the corn, helping this hungry veggie grow.  And last but not least the large squash leaves take over the ground crowding out the weeds and shading the ground as well saving precious moisture.

Hidatsa beans are very prolific and make a great crop of dried beans to put away for the winter.  You need to figure on planting a number of them if you want pounds put away for your pantry.  Try the Three Sisters method in the corn patch!

TIP  Let your beans dry on the vine unless weather threatens, then pull and hang the entire plant upside down in the barn/garage to dry.  Now take a clean garbage can or burlap bag and put your hidatsa beans in it.  Now, the fun part.  Beat he heck out of the beans.  If you are using a burlap bag you can beat it on the floor or stomp on it.  The idea is to get all the hidatsa beans free of their shells.  Now take this combination of beans and shells to winnow.  That means, by either using a fan or the wind let the shells blow away.  I use two big rubbermaid containers.  One empty on the ground and the other full of beans I slowly dump into the empty one letting the chaff blow out (fan or wind).  That is it!  Now you have your own 100% organic dry beans ready to feed your family anytime you want!  Not to mention all the money you will save.

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