Honoring Native American Harvest and Gardening Techniques

Posted on November 27, 2022 by Andrea Forsberg

Native American Heritage Month


Many different gardening techniques were used by Native American people and are still in use today because of their effectiveness. Here are a few gardening techniques that are not only sustainable but also honor Native Americans.


  1. Companion Planting


One common theory is that certain plants improve each other’s health and protect each other from pests when grown together. For example, Native Americans would grow corn, beans, and squash together, which would help each other grow and protect against pests such as raccoons. This technique is also called a “Three Sisters” garden, due to the three different crops grown together. If you find your crops are invaded by pests and not growing healthily, consider using a companion planting technique.


  1. Irrigation


During rainstorms, people living in arid locations would collect the water through check-dams and cisterns to irrigate their gardens. In areas with floods, people built shallow depressions in order to collect the water. While technology has advanced and this is no longer a major issue, the Native American people would use this technique to keep their crops growing and healthy. If you aren’t able to use any modern technology to maintain your garden, you can still use older irrigation techniques to keep your garden in great condition.


  1. Seed-Saving


Native Americans would save seeds in order to improve the crops they were growing, particularly maize. Because of these efforts, they were able to develop maize into the corn that we all know today. Seed-saving can also prevent cross-pollination from occurring, and seeds with desirable traits can be more easily selected. If you’re looking to save money and produce higher-quality crops, consider seed-saving.


  1. Terracing


If you live in hilly terrain and are looking to improve your gardening, terracing might be your best option. In this method, water flows down a slope and into the garden, helping your crops grow. This method also avoids erosion, which could take away your topsoil. Terraces are a great way to keep your garden going, especially if you live in an area with seasonal rain.


  1. Fertilization


Native Americans believed that if you take from nature, you must give back. By returning crop residues, the soil became fertilized and maintained, allowing crops including corn and squash to thrive. In locations where fish were common, fish bones were burned and their ashes were scattered in the gardens to prevent weeds from interfering with other crops.


  1. Crop Rotation


When one crop is grown in the same spot yearly, nutrients can become depleted and various pests and diseases can build up in the area. When this happens, it’s best to rotate your crops and grow something new. This prevents pests from interfering and stops various diseases from accumulating. This method has been around for thousands of years and continues to be effective.


If you’re looking to improve your gardening or plant care, Flower Works can help. With several years of experience and a great selection of high-quality flowers and plants, we can help you honor the Native American people and their efforts with your garden. Contact us today to learn more.

Posted in Gardening, Native American Harvest and Gardening Techniques, Native American Heritage