History Of Squash
Squash has a long relationship with human civilization, with seeds dating back 12,000 years ago found in Ecuadorian caves. In the Americas, squash was one of three primary crops, the other two being corn and beans. Known as the "Three Sisters" by the Iroquois Indians, these crops worked symbiotically. The corn provided a growing structure for the climbing beans and the bean vines better rooted the corn to ground so the stalks were not as easily blown over or washed out. The beans fixed nitrogen in the soil to fertilize the corn and squash, especially since corn uses a lot of nitrates out of the soil. The squash vines acted as living mulch to shade out weed plants and retain moisture in the soil, while the prickly stems deterred pests from "helping" with the harvest. When the three crops were eaten together, they provided a nutritional balance of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Winter squash were an especially important crop for the Wampanoag Indians in New England because they could be stored through the winter. The word squash comes from a Coastal Algonquin language.
Living together in close association when mutually beneficial
A protective covering spread on the ground to reduce evaporation and control weeds