Organic Soybean - Growing and Seed Saving Info
Downloadable Soybean growing and seed saving info
Soybeans (Glycine max) are a
type of legume native to East Asia. They are
incredibly high in protein and are used to make a variety of food products from
soy milk and tofu to soy sauce, tempeh, and edamame. They produce more protein
per acre than most other uses of land and are considered a heart-healthy food.
Soybeans are grown in much the same way as any dry bean. They grow best
in loose loamy soil rich in organic matter; however they will tolerate (and
improve, through N-fixation) poor soils. Water lightly after planting as too
much moisture can cause seeds to crack.
Varies, about 2,200 seeds/lb
225'/lb., 5 lb./1,000', 87 lb./acre at 8 seeds/ft. and rows 30"
1.5” thinned to 4-6” apart.
Direct sow 2-3 weeks after last frost date, when the soil is about 60°F.
Mulch when soil warms above 60°F to conserve moisture and keep down
Soybeans are tender annuals and will not survive frost.
Soybeans are somewhat drought-tolerant but will be much more productive
if evenly watered. Irrigation is recommended during dry periods.
Heat-tolerant plants thrive in warm weather, especially with adequate
Soybeans are usually ready 60-100 days after planting depending on the
variety. For edamame, harvest when pods are plump and green. The beans should
feel firm but not hard to the touch. Most of the pods will ripen at once. You
can test the ripeness by boiling a few pods and trying the beans inside. If
they taste good, they are ready! Clip plants at the base of the stem and tie
into bunches for retail, or strip off the pods, rinse, and steam or boil for
five minutes. Cooked shelled beans can be frozen at this point.
For dry beans, leave plants in the ground until at least 90% of the
leaves have fallen and pods are dry. Pull plants up by the roots and continue
drying under cover in wet weather. Thresh beans and check that they contain
less than 9% moisture, then store in a cool place or freeze.
Pods have a short storage life. Fresh pods or shelled beans will keep
for about one week in refrigeration.
Pest and Disease Resistance
Generally problem-free. Crop rotation is recommended.
Soybean seeds are easy to save because they have perfect (self-fertile)
flowers and cross-pollination with other varieties is virtually impossible.
Allow the pods to fully dry on the plants, then shell and leave out to dry for
at least 24 hours before storing in a cool, dry, dark place.