The tradition began with the Haudenosaunee (Ho-deh-no-shaw-nee) who are also known as the Iroquois. The Haudenosaunee method involved planting the Three Sisters on a mound of soil because the elevation was helpful with drainage and meant that the roots weren’t going to become waterlogged.
There are different ways to layout a Three Sisters Garden to make the most of the crops. As mentioned, the mound was the classic layout, with corn seeds planted in the centre, bean seeds halfway down the mound and squash seeds around 24 inches from the centre of the mound.
In a field setting this is good for corn pollination which is planted in a large block. The block of corn should be surrounded by a perimeter of beans. Then, the squash is planted in one row that is around 3 feet from the line of beans. This will make it easier to access the beans and the corn for harvesting.
For a landscape garden the corn, beans and squash and separated. Each year the crops position is shifted once to the right. In the first section plant squash, then corn, then beans. Corn requires plenty of feed, so needs a fertile soil which is why they follow in the last position of beans which add nutrients to the soil.