The immature seeds of the edible soya bean are a nutritious snack. Steam or boil the whole pods for 3-5 minutes and set out, salted or unsalted, as a fun finger-food. This treat is called edamame. The small, slightly fuzzy pods hold fat green beans that pop out easily from the cooked soybean pods. Good for freezing also. The plants are big and vigorous but the seeds are delicate, so don’t drop or crush them. Soya beans contain the most protein out of all the beans, and are a healthy addition to your diet. Below are some of our top tips on how to grow soya beans from seed.

Glycine max
Family: Fabaceae


Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full-sun

Direct sow in late spring, once the soil has warmed up. Cold, damp soil can result in poor germination or rotted seeds. Optimal soil temperature: 21-32°C (70-90°F).

Do not pre-soak soya bean seeds. Sow seeds 2-5cm (1-2″) deep, 5-10cm (2-4″) apart, in rows 60cm (24″) apart. If the weather is too wet, seeds can be started indoors in pots and carefully transplanted a few weeks later. Germination takes 8-16 days, depending on conditions.

Ideal pH: 5.8-6.2. Well drained, warm soil is best. Use 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer for every 3m (10′) of row. Too much nitrogen in fertilizer or manure is often the cause of poor pod set and delayed maturity. If beans flower but do not set pods, the cause can be zinc deficiency. Try spraying the plants with kelp based fertilizer. Wet leaves on crowded plants are subject to diseases. Thin plants to increase air circulation and avoid touching the leaves while they are wet.

Pick pods that are in the middle of the plant as soon as they start to fatten up. By mid-September, you can pull up the whole plant and pick the remaining pods at your leisure. Edamame is the word used to describe the whole pods, which have been steamed or boiled, and optionally salted. The green vegetable soybeans freeze well after blanching.

Seed Info
In optimal conditions at least 85% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 800 seeds, per acre: 174M seeds.

Companion Planting
Good for fixing nitrogen, and acting as a mulch against weeds. Grow soya beans with corn. Soya beans repel Japanese beetles and chinch bugs.

More on Companion Planting.