It is fun to garden by using methods used by the pioneers. Not long ago, I read about how settlers in the forests in Western Pennsylvania first cleared the forests. They didn’t have chainsaws and heavy equipment to excavate. Because they often lived as much as a hundred miles from the nearest large settlement they had to depend on their own self-sufficiency so planting a crop as soon as possible was always top priority. In order to get crops planted as early as possible, the men would arrive at their holdings in the autumn months. They would live in makeshift huts that they could build in a few hours and then set to girding the trees where they would plant their crops in the spring. Girding is done by cutting a swath of bark completely around the circumference of the tree so that when spring came the tree’s sap would run out and the tree would die. During the rest of the winter the men would clear brush around the trees and cut down some of the trees to build their homes and out buildings as well as to cut for fuel. In addition, they would go trapping.
In late winter after trapping season, they would return to civilization. There they traded back what they had trapped during the winter at the settlement where their wives and children remained while they were preparing their holdings. They would buy corn for planting and took their families to their new land. There they planted the corn often in the three sister’s tradition of the Native Americans in the moist soil around the now dead trees. Plowing was not necessary. They simply pushed aside the leaf litter on the ground and buried the seeds in the rich dark loam. During those first early years, hoeing and cultivating was not necessary which was good because there was more than enough work to keep the settlers busy.
The Three Sisters Gardening Use by the Early Settlers was an adaptation of Native American techniques.
The settlers learned how to garden from the Native Americans. Many Native American tribes grew Indian corn. This is the history of the Iroquois and their way of growing corn. http://hubpages.com/education/Iroquois-Corn
Three sisters gardening is an age old technique that utilizes the synergy between corn, beans, and pumpkins or winter squash.Click here to read my article about this technique http://hubpages.com/living/A-Three-Sisters-Garden-Bed
Friday’s Video- Not Quite early pioneers, but here is video of how the farmers farmed in the 1920s and 1930s.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.