Trail of Tears

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    Bean plants twined around corn.




    Here’s an image of the three sisters by a Haliwa Saponi artist, Karen Lynch Harley

    Her site is at It’s available as a Limited Edition Print.



    Hello , I have been researching as usual and have found some very intersting articles.

    Linda you had mentioned that you had trouble with the 3 sisters form of planting, well not all crops were in that style of planting if you look for a book called “buffalo Bird womans garden” it should have some info that will help.

    I did read that the Hidats people were inthe Ohio valley about 1250 AD, I do believe that they may have taken some of thier crops from that area to the Dakotas.

    Also, there is some changing of names with these seeds as well and Iam trying to find and record what was and is what.

    There is several co. that I have seen that have changed the names from native crops and given them new names.

    In the future I will post some of these.

    For example “table queen” acorn squash was the original Arikara squash, wild goose beans are probably Hidatsa shield Figure beans…. and it ofcourse snowballs.

    More later, Tom



    This is a little bit off the subject, but I have planted gourds many times and with many varieties at the same time and in the same place.

    In FL you need to plant early ( Feb.) as gourds take a long time to grow. Frost and cold will kill them though. I have raised them speading on the ground and also upright, like along side a fence or trellis. I found they do much better here on the ground, as a matter of fact the best crop I ever grew was quite by accident………we have a yard limbs/wood/leaves burn pile located in our horse pasture. After our summer garden has made and everything is harvested, some of the leavings are dumped in this pile to be burned later during the cooler/dryer months. Anyway, one year I grew gourds along my driveway fence ( made a decent crop , but nothing to brag about) and later my husband dumped the dryed up vines in the burn pile. We had a dry winter and couldn’t burn our pile that year.

    Well, I also had one or two gourds that after drying didn’t look up to par for my crafts, so they went in the pile too.

    Much to my surprise the next spring I noticed green plants coming up in the burn pile………. gourds and I mean lots of gourds, it made the biggest and most abundant gourd crop I have ever seen. I harvested over 300 gourds from that pile and they spread in such a big area, my husband got disgusted because he couldn’t mow the pasture there. Needless to say, almost 4 years later I still have plenty of gourds to do crafts with.




    Hey Bushtick, nope that’s just on the subject.

    I think that what happened to the gourds has probably happened many times, I have heard this with pumpkin seedsgoing into the compost as well.

    There is also a wild gourd called a Buffalo gourd, that is found across the south. Many gourds were used as seeds food like pumpkin seeds. This is true of quash aswell.

    I have seen a bit from Buffalo Bird womans garden, the book, it is well worth the read and the effort to find it.

    Something that you may know about is a little melon that is called a ghost melon, grows wild in La. and has the best aroma, have you heard of it, some say not edible but the Creole and Black folks there use it for jam etc.

    All the best Tom



    I got something very special in the mail today. It was a small manila envelope from Canada with a hand written message, “LIVE SEED from the Six Nations reserve.” Inside were three packs I’d ordered of Tutelo soup beans. They look like kidney beans with speckles of pink. I wonder how long they take to harvest, and if they might be ready by the campout, the end of June.

    It was quite a feeling for these seeds to be coming home like this. The trip up there took a lot longer than the airplane ride back. All it took was $9 and a few days to bring back what had to be tended lovingly for 300 or so years to still be here.

    I ordered them from



    Hey Linda, Iam happy for you, I hope that the beans grow and do well.

    We need to do a great deal of research and really nail down alot of this type of material.

    there is also gourd seed corn and many other varities of plants etc that could possibly be returned.

    Can you email me your telephone # to my old email address,, I’d like to talk to you.

    ALl the best Tom



    Not for sure if it is your ghost melon, but all over the southern states, grows a CITRON MELON. This is a wild growing melon and it is a small round melon. Now I have never eaten one, but I have heard old timers and read old recipe books stating that it makes a good jam or jelly.

    Back to gourds……I have many times taken seed from previous crops and dryed them to plant later. There is one I like to make bowls from. Most of the time they germinate but you do need to keep them in a dry cool place while storing.

    I also grew a blue dent corn variety several years back, a small stand, and harvested a small crop. It really wasn’t edible the way we like to eat corn……………on the cob or creamed, it is mostly used for grinding into meal, But it was a beautiful blue/black color and dryed nicely for crafting.

    I have seen the book Buffalo Birds garden offered in some of my seed cat. and often thought to order it. I might just look at B&N next trip to town. However, my husband is very stingy with his garden space, and actually it is limited to size, and alot of things you can’t plant together, such as corn, as they will cross pollinate, so I can understand his worried looks when I start looking at herloom seed offers. We put up alot of garden vegetables, I can and freeze most all of it. So I have put off the book as to not be tempted.




    Hello well, the book is still a good idea.

    The large oil co.’s are now buying up seed growing farms.

    This happened after one co. patented some hybred corn seed, the catch is that they cannot build a gene and have to go back to the now rarer varieties of seed that they made almost obslete with thier junk that does not produce viable hybred seed, just like mules cannot cross back.

    Anyway our food crops world wide are based on 3 crops , corn, wheat and rice., with a forth the startch roots from the tropics.

    These large oil co.’s have become the owners and controlers of food seed.

    Companies such as Monsanto patented wheat seed and can and have prosecuted the unliscensed growers of there seed.

    Mexico has banned all GMO’ed any thing from Mexico, why because some how contaminants from gmoed plants were found in rare and islotated corn in the highlands of Mexico.

    What this means is or rather you should ask yourself who is controlling what and why does an oil co. want to control the worlds food supply. The only way to even try and curb this is by growing heirloom seed varieties.

    All the best Tom.


    Bill Childs

    To paraphrase.. “What would an Oil Co want with seed crops?”

    Plant based fuel ?



    Hey Bill well not entirely since thier gmoed products are made to respond best to thier “brand of fertilizer!

    It has been said that this gmo-ing is the biggest experiment on man kind yet and it was born out of control, in 20 years we may or may not know the effects.!



    hello for those of you looking to grow native seed varieties do your home work as I have found and was made ware of recently that some of the old names have been altered and that some new names have been added to old varities.






    Well it’s this time of the year again and I hope that we can add to this thread.

    After last years research and what I plan this year I hope to have a nice garden in several places.

    Is there anyone else planning to plant this year?



    I’m so sad not to have a garden this year. 🙁

    I used to have a (mostly) organic garden at my Uncle’s house before I moved. I had to fight constantly to keep my Mom out of it with her shaker of insecticide. She liked the natural fertilizers ok, but would still sprinkle “Miracle Grow” crystals on everything if I didn’t keep after her. She wasn’t much impressed with the organic insecticides and fungicides until I found one that would keep the mold off the squash & melons long enough to get a good crop. Even she was impressed with that.

    Anyhow, now I have the space, but I have deed restrictions and the Uncle with the tractor is two hours away. I’ll have to make a raised box and grow a few tomatoes, but I won’t get by with plowing up my yard around here.

    ……and oh, I miss my good, never messed with, “used to be a flood plain” soil. I kept a small garden at home and my old house was in one of those old, haphazard, subdivisions. Everybody built as they pleased and the ground had never been scraped off and sold for “top soil”. I once had a watermelon vine that was 20 feet in each direction, with leaves as big as my arm. For many years there was no trash pickup there and everyone buried everything in their back yard. By the time I moved in my whole yard was thoroughly composted!

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