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The Best Way to Plant Soybeans  

Soybeans are annual plantings that grow and produce their yield and then die back at the end of the growing season. Soybean plants are relatively easy to grow and are similar to well-known varieties of bush beans and are planted much the same way. They are nutrient-rich complete proteins that provide calcium, vitamins A and B and is the only vegetable which consists of nine amino acids.

Most people love edamame purchased from the store — lightly steamed and salted, they’re like manna from heaven. But you can grow them at home and save money! These tender pods are actually young soybeans, and surprisingly easy to grow.

Full frame of beautiful, fresh steamed edamame pods with one on top slightly open to view pretty beans inside.

Selecting Organic Seeds

Seeds selection is essential when planting soybeans. Many soybeans are pre-treated with insecticides and fungicides as seeds. Take the extra step to ensure that the seeds that you are working with are free from these chemical agents before planting in your organic garden bed. Look for Organically Certified Soybeans as you select your seeds.

Varieties to try: ‘Shirofumi,’ ‘Midori Giant,’ ‘Envy’


The best time to plant soybeans is right at the beginning of the Spring season when the temperature of the soil can remain consistent at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Soybeans grow their best when the outdoor temperatures average approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nutrient Requirements, Soil Composition, and pH

Soybeans capture nitrogen from the air and deposit it into the soil through their roots. Soybean plants do not need soil that is particularly high in nutrient content. Before planting, you can amend your soil with well-decomposed compost, but your soybean plot shouldn’t need much more than that. Soybeans grow well in any soil type as long as the soil is well-draining.

It is still recommended that test your soil before planting, as soybeans, thrive best in soil that measures 6.8-7 on the pH scale. Amend your soil as needed to achieve that ideal threshold to ensure the best growth and health of your soybean plants

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Potting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

soybeans growing in these pods as the morning sun illuminates this soybean field

Light Requirements

Soybean plants require warm conditions and full sun, so choose an area in the yard that receives a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight or more each day. It is possible to grow soybeans in partial shade, but this may be somewhat limiting to your harvest.

Controlling Pests

Soybeans can be attractive to a lot of different garden pests. Plant narrow rows of seeds so that they grow into a canopy of plant growth can help deter insect predators and parasites, as well as diseases. Soybeans that are planted in narrow rows are less likely to be subject to egg-laying corn earworm moths.

One of the best defenses against garden pests that feed off of soybean crops is to keep a keen eye on your plantings and be on the lookout for pests and disease. Remove pests by hand and, if necessary, remove the infected or diseased plant entirely and dispose of it far away from your garden bed.

Crop rotation is another way of controlling the pest population. Crop rotation improves the quality of the soil and helps to break the cycle of certain garden pests.

Planting Soybeans

Soybeans require a long growing season. Much like traditional bush beans, soybeans grow between 1 to 3 feet tall and do not need staking.

The best way to plant soybeans is by directly sowing the seeds into the garden bed. Plant soybean seeds approximately 1 1/2 inches deep in the soil about 6 inches apart in narrow rows and then cover the seeds loosely with garden soil. Water in well. It is essential that the soil moisture is adequate and that there is no risk of frost when you plant.

Consider staggering your planting times. Sow soybean seeds about 10-12 days after your first round of planting so that you can enjoy a second harvest.

Soybean sprouting


Keep the soil in the garden bed nice and damp, which will allow the seeds to germinate and get off to a successful start. Give them consistent irrigation (one inch of water weekly), and mulch to maintain the soil moisture.

Companion Planting

Some plants work together really well together in the garden. As mentioned earlier, soybeans extract beneficial nitrogen from the atmosphere and release it back into the soil, so they make great companions with heavy feeders like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, corn, and potatoes.

When to Harvest

Harvest your soybeans when the pods appear full and plump. Seedpods that are bright green and swelled up are good to go. Overripe pods will have a yellowish color, and the beans will quickly lose their sweetness. Once the pods turn yellow, the quality and flavor of the soybeans inside are compromised.

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Close up of an open soybean with text, "9 Tips planting, growing, harvesting soybeans"
Green fuzzy soybeans with text, "Edamame, how to grow soybeans"

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