companion growing

Growing like the Olmec

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As well as gardening and growing my own I have a fascination with history, especially ancient Greece and Rome, and the Central and South American civilizations.

The Olmec lived in Central America between 1300 to 400 BC and were one of the earliest cultures in this part of the world.  Tim Lambert provides an easy to read “brief history of the Olmec” here.

While I was watching Jago Cooper’s Lost Kingdoms series that I came across some clever companion planting – namely of the three principle crops of the Olmec people: (sweet)corn, squash and beans.  As far as I am aware, the UK is the only place the world that calls corn sweetcorn (although please correct me if I am wrong!).

The method is super clever and makes so much sense! You grow the squash to provide ground cover and keep the weeds down, then the corn and beans grown up through the squash, with the corn providing support for the beans.  This makes a lot of sense to me!  So I am going to do some experimenting, both in my garden and at the allotment, although I’m going to grow my beans up canes because they’re part of another experiment.

In the garden I’m growing some squash and corn in a grow bag, not much to see yet though as the seeds have only just gone in!  The varieties are Sunburst Squash and Sweet Corn Passion.

For the allotment I’m going to grow plants on at home and then plant them out later in the year.  I need to find some window sill space and some little pots to get them going though!

I’m off to find some different varieties of squash and corn to grow! Happy growing 🙂

A x