This block probably has nothing to do with the story of native American corn and bean growing, but I’m going to tell it anyway because it’s the reason I love the pattern, and the reason I picked an orange to green variegated hand dye to make it.

Corn depletes the nitrogen in the soil, whereas beans are some of the only plants in the world capable of fixing it. Over time, they came to be grown together by these perceptive early farmers: a seed of each planted in the same hole meant that the corn had enough nutrients to grow tall and strong, and the beans had a perfect environment too: shade deep down so that water didn’t run dry, and a strong support to reach up towards the sun. Often squash would be planted underneath, as a kind of green mulch and to fruit in the deeper shade: they became known in some mythologies as the ‘Three Sisters’.

One of my very favourite things to do as a small kidlet was to sit in the garden eating the young corn cobs and beans and watching the bean leaves turn with the sun. Sunflowers do this too: actually, so do a lot of other plants, but these two make it obvious because they move more and they move each day. When I heard the word ‘phototropism’ explained in Biology in year Ten, I almost jumped out of my seat with excitement: I’d seen it happen in my plants!

And so a tragic nerd was born :)…

If you have two and a half minutes, do watch this Encyclopedia Brittanica short video of a fuschia plant growing in response to light. http://youtube.com/watch?v=zctM_TWg5Ik&feature=related

I can’t yet find one that shows beans or sunflowers doing their daily dance: I’ll look further if I have a moment.

So, was the first person to name this block aware of the story of beans and corn cohabiting? Did that person like to lie in his or her vegetable garden and watch the plants turn? I hope so.

All of these patches are cut from the same fabric, just different parts of it. So they bleed and match.

It does look better set on point, but I wanted to make one for my sampler.

I certainly haven’t forgotten about the Indiana Puzzle: it’s next on the list.

Patches in this block: 44

Patches so far:138

STOP PRESS… oh, it’s too late, but I’m editing this post to say this anyway. I sewed it wrong! I can actually have that great on-point look if I switch the placement of the four white outer corners: this was all in the original pattern, which I ignored somehow in my hurry to finish. I didn’t notice I’d done it till I went to upload the pattern.

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