Edamame is a vegetable soybean in the same family as the soybeans farmers grow but there are a few differences. Vegetable soybeans are harvested while they are still green while field soybeans are left on the plant to dry. Vegetable soybeans are larger than field soybeans with a creamier texture and mild, nutty flavor.
If you think edamame is a tasty snack, you should try growing the beans in your garden. Edamame’s flavor is that much better when prepared fresh from the garden and it’s very easy to grow.
Choose a site with full sun and well-drained soil amended with organic matter such as humus or compost.
Some sources recommend treating the beans with inoculant powder (Rhizobium japonicum inoculant) to help them absorb the nitrogen they need. I find that planting soil with plenty of compost will produce a good crop without inoculating the beans. You can read more about inoculating beans here.
Sow edamame soybeans after the last frost date in your area and when the soil has warmed up to 60 degrees F.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, until the beans germinate.
Caring for Edamame Plants
Caring for edamame is pretty simple. Just keep the area weeded and give the plants 1 inch of water each week.
Expect all the beans on a plant to mature at once. They are ready when the pods are plump and bright green. With the right weather and growing conditions you can expect about a quarter pound of beans per plant.
Edamame Seed Sources
Gardeners in areas with a short growing season should select early maturing varieties.