MakerGarden 2011

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Born On:
12:49, 21 December 2011 (CST)
Last Updated:
16:21, 30 December 2011 (CDT)


This is the 2011 continuation of the gardening effort from 2010. Using the lessons from that year led to a lot of improvement in the garden.

Plants Grown

  • Three Sisters
    • First Sister - Tall Plants (Shaders and Supporters)
      • Japanese Hulless Popcorn
      • Golden Bantam Yellow Sweet Corn
    • Second Sister - Climbers
      • Red Nightfall (aka Mayflower) Pole Beans - Nitrogen Fixer
      • Wando Garden Pea - Nitrogen Fixer
    • Third Sister - Ground Spreaders (Moisture Retainers, Weed Crowders and Anti-Vermin Fencers)
      • Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash
      • Waltham Butternut Winter Squash
      • Schoon's Hardshell Muskmelon
      • Honeydew, Green Flesh Muskmelon
      • Watermelon
      • Pumpkin
  • Berry Bushes
    • Blackberries
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Bush Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Flowers
    • Wildflowers
    • Morning Glories
    • Sunflower Varieties


Three Sisters Variation

The basis of the Three Sisters method is that the First Sister is tall, sturdy and shades the others, the Second Sister climbs on the First for support and the Third Sister spreads leafy vines along the ground and provides ground cover to shade out weeds, retain moisture and to keep off grazers with its thorns. One or more of the sisters are nitrogen-fixing to keep the soil fertile, commonly the Second Sister. Therefore one could make variations on the Three Sisters based on the above characteristics. By selecting at least one plant from each of the three columns of the table below and having at least one of them be a nitrogen-fixer (marked in green text), a Three Sisters garden is formed.

First Sister Second Sister Third Sister
  • Maize
  • Tomatoes in a Climbing Cage
  • Sunflowers
  • Pole Beans

Note: The italics denoted the typical Three Sisters setup.


Getting It To Work

Four things needed for compost to work & where they can be had:

  • Carbon - Paper products, dried leaves, woody matter and fully decomposed soil.
  • Nitrogen - Green leaves, fresh grass clippings and kitchen food waste.
  • Minerals - Bones and ashes from burning.
  • Molds, Microbes & Decomposition Bugs - Rotting wood, spoiled food, fresh compost and anything that smells and is decaying. The bugs can be had from the environment; grubs, earthworms, fly larvae, scavenger bugs, etc.

Typically, a good rule of thumb for good soil is to mix carbon and nitrogen type materials at 50/50 volume before decomposition sprinkled with mineral type material. The addition of molds and microbes will kick start the decomposition process.


  • Too much nitrogen and the pile will smell.
  • Too much carbon and the pile will decompose too slowly and result in poor soil.
  • Too few minerals and your plants will be anemic-looking.
  • Not enough seed molds, microbes and decomposition bugs and it will take some time for the pile to break down.

Soil Decontamination & Bioremediation

Based on previous data on which compost has been used to remove contaminants from soil. Reference: