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Simon Webster wards of rats from attacking his organic crops, and succeeds!

How to grow the three sisters: part 3

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The rats have been seen off, for now, and all three sisters are growing, reports SIMON WEBSTER.

Well, the rat traps did the trick. After a week of luring the cunning rodents with lumps of cheese (the cartoons were right after all), I’d caught four and a quarter rats (I’ll spare you the gruesome details) and the sweetcorn seedlings were alive and well.

Experts say transplanting sweetcorn sets it back, and sure enough the seedlings were slow to get going, but now they are powering on, with four on each hill, after I culled a couple of weaklings.

The other two sisters are also in the ground. I waited for dry weather to be forecast (bean seeds tend to rot if there’s too much rain) and sowed a couple of snake bean seeds (saved from last season) next to each corn stalk. I’ll thin these to one bean plant per stalk later.

I’ve also sowed watermelon ‘Sugar Baby’ seeds in the other hills, following this pattern.

I may have left the sowing a bit late – the sweetcorn is certainly way ahead of the other plants – but hopefully they’ll be vigorous enough to thrive anyway.

Pictured are my newly emerged beans. It’s tremendously exiting here at the cutting edge of gardening science. The experiment continues!