wikiHow to Grow Soybeans

Growing soybeans has become increasingly popular with home gardeners. These warm weather plants are grown in Africa, Asia, and Australia. They have gained popularity in western countries due to their health benefits. They are high in fiber and protein, and are a good source of calcium. They taste good, and very useful to use in place of beef and pork.

Home gardeners find it is easy to grow soybeans. They are grown just like any other bush bean, and produce high yields.


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    Expect them to take three months from planting to harvest. Try succession planting for continuous harvest over several weeks. In the USA, the South and Midwest provide the best growing regions.
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    Sow the soybean seeds. There are black-seeded and green-seeded varieties. The black-seeded varieties are grown for drying, while the green-seeded varieties are grown for eating as they are. Plant outdoors after the last frost date for your area. The soil should be warm before planting.
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    Sow the soybean seeds 2 inches (5.08 cm) apart, about 1/2 inch (1.27cm) deep, in rows 20" to 24" (50cm - 60cm) apart. If your garden space is limited, plant in double rows.
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    Water well after planting, and a second time two to four days later, only if there has been no rain.
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    Side dress the rows with general purpose fertilizer during planting.
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    Ensure a nitrogen rich soil. Soybeans are easy to grow. They grow best in full sun and in warm weather. They prefer a rich soil, high in nitrogen. Soil should be kept moist for optimum growth.
    • Soybeans grow best in rich soil. Add manure and compost prior to planting. Apply fertilizer regularly during the growth period.
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    Harvest soybeans when the pods are full. Rinse the pods, then boil them for twenty minutes. Allow to cool, then squeeze the pods to remove the beans. Beans can be frozen or canned.
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    Deal with insects and pests. Like other beans, soybeans are susceptible to a variety of insects, most notably beetles. They can be effectively treated with Sevin, Diazinon or a variety of other insecticides.
    • Rabbits eat the tender new leaves. If there are rabbits in your area, a rabbit fence is not a nicety, it is a necessity. They will devastate a row of beans in a hurry, eating the tender new leaves. As new ones develop, they will come back for more.
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    Harvest. Harvesting occurs in summer, when the seeds reach full size and the pods are still green.
    • Pour boiling water over the pods before shelling. This will soften them.
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  • The Japanese call shelled green soybeans edamame; these are high in protein and very tasty.
  • Did you know? Soybean plants are rich in nutrients. After the harvest, put plants in the compost pile, turn them into your soil.
  • Soybeans are not a hardy plant. They are susceptible to cold and frost. Hold off planting until a few days before all danger of frost is past. In the fall, cover the crop on nights when the temperature is expected to go below 40 degrees.
  • Soybeans are legumes. Good to eat.
  • Popular varieties include "Early Hakucho" and "Envy".


  • Bacterial and wilt diseases are common among the Bean family. This plant disease arrives with summer heat and humidity. This often occurs just before, or during, the ripening of the crop. Fungicides are recommended in areas of high heat and humidity.

Sources and Citations

  • Checked with Hazel White and Janet H Sanchez, The Edible Garden, p. 116, (2005), ISBN 0-376-03170-0

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables