Soybeans? Snow peas?

pommy445(9)March 16, 2008

I'm currently starting some soybeans, and I'm quite new at gardening. I've looked on the net at some sources but unfortunately they all say different things.

Some tell me that they want full sun, some say partial shade.

It's pretty much summer all year-round here (Hawaii) and the sun is much more intense as compared to most other places in the world. So, where in the yard should I plant the soybeans?

Also, my snow pea has white-ish markings on the leaves. I'll post a picture as soon as possible, but I'm not sure if it's natural or if it's a disease. It's much lighter than the normal color of the plants, and some of the markings are like elongated spots. Any ideas?

Any tips on starting soybeans as well?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

There are soybeans grown in Hawaii, most of which would be impossible for me in my Northern Midwest location, soybean fan though I am. The Asian cultivars sold commercially (especially the black-seeded varieties) will probably perform best there. Give them full sun if at all possible; even minor shade will reduce yields. And while Hawaii may have summer year-round, soybeans are daylength-sensitive, so you might want to check with the U of H for the best planting times.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:24AM
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Pommy, soy should be grown in full sun. Just plant them about an inch deep, in well worked soil, and keep them moist until they come up. They are pretty trouble free after they are up.

For years my family and I lived in Mexico just about on the 20th parallel. During 8 of those years I taught in a Bible Institute and helped them with their agronomy program. Early on, the Mexican government began to promote soy as a nutritious manner to improve the diet of the poor. They would actually send out extension agents to give seminars on how to process the beans and produce soy milk, soy meal and soy cheese (tofu). They would also give demonstrations on how to used these products in tasty recipes which were culturally acceptable to the palate. We invited one fellow to give us a seminar, and it was really good!

Unfortunately, soy beans, sold in the market, were expensive. I got to thinking: "Most of these folk know how to grow beans and corn. Why not have them grow soy beans and then they can use this technology and these recipes for next to nothing. I purchased soy beans from the market and planted them. At that latitude the plants, grown from seed produced in the northern USA and in Canada, would only attain a height of about 4 inches, produce a half dozen pods and dry down. It wasn't worth it. I tried growing out samples purchased in different towns and at different times of the year, hoping to find one which would prosper at the 20th parallel. As Zeedman has already observed, the problem was day length sensitivity. But none of them worked.

One day, when I was thinking about this (this was what I call a "slow burn project), it occurred to me to take a globe, put my finger on our town and then rotate it West, heading for China, to see where soy was grown at a similar latitude. Before I got to Asia, my finger ran smack into Hawaii. So, I got out my Seed Savers Exchange yearbook and looked to see if anyone in Hawaii was offering seed for soy. There was! So, I requested the seed and planted it. It did super! Here's a picture of me, with some of this soy. It was listed and labeled as "Kahala," and had been developed at the U. of Hawaii, specifically for nematode resistance. Here's a picture from when I grew it in Hidalgo, Mexico in 2000.

I don't know why, but at least for seven years now, it has been listed, even by the fellow I got it from, as Kohala. I haven't taken the time to try and figure this out.

I grew it at least twice in the state of Hidalgo, at the 20th parallel. It performed beautifully. When we returned to the USA I left seed with the brethren at the Bible Institute. They never planted it, eventually losing it. I've tried to find my way through the bureaucratic mire of the S.A.R.C.H. (Mexican bureau over the promotion of such resources), and that over the Internet; without any success, hoping to get them some seed to distribute to the rural poor.
Since then I have grown it ... in NEW JERSEY! And it produced very well there! I've grown it two times, now, in Oklahoma, and it is very well adapted to this climate and latitude. So, I'll keep it going and use it.

Kahala (Kohala) grows like a hay type soy. The plants are pretty tall. Here in Oklahoma they reach about 3'. They are bushy and crowd out weeds when planted in a wide row. Last year I planted it on July 30 and it was ready to harvest October 25.

Last year I planted Jewell, a northern adapted soy. I put it in on July 7 and it was completely dried down by the first of October. The plants were only about 15" tall (not bushy) and had a much closer pod set. Jewell produced very well.

Pommy if your seasons are at all like what they were in Hidalgo, you have some latitude in planting times. But I planted in February and March. Can't say what would happen with a summertime planting. I never tried it.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:16PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Interesting observations, George. Although I've read about the adaptation of soybeans to particular latitudes - and seen the reaction of Southern soybeans to my long Midwest day length - I never knew how Northern varieties would react to _shorter_ days. Apparently, they are driven almost immediately into the reproductive cycle, before the plants have the biomass to support a larger pod load.

Oddly enough, I have been asked some variation of this soybean question several times this month... and given my Northern latitude, I don't have much personal experience to draw on. Maybe one of these years, I'll move further South. I'm waiting for the price of gas to go down. ;-)

I am surprised to hear you mention "Jewel", since it is one of the few named varieties I might have recommended. It is in Maturity Group II, which is very "iffy" for my location; but I hope to grow it this year from transplants. Because of the daylength sensitivity, transplants started 3-4 weeks early will only gain 7-10 days on their normal maturity... but that can be enough to beat the frost.

It's rather remarkable, George, that a Northern-adapted soybean ("Jewel") and a tropical variety ("Kahala") both do well for you. My own efforts to grow soybeans beyond Maturity Group II (the max recommended for my area) have so far been unsuccessful, even with the use of transplants. Sometimes, you can fool Mother Nature... and sometimes she just smacks you up 'side the head and says "Oh no, you don't!".

Oh, and reading back through this post, I noticed that we only answered part of the questions. The "whitish markings" on the snow peas are probably normal, but the only way to be sure would be to look at a photo.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:03PM
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When thinking about where plants came from and what might do well for you, have a look at this map.

My original purpose in googling for this information was my continued amazement that Seed Savers Exchange members in the Southern United States seem to be having success with... and listing seeds of ... tomatoes from the Ukraine. When I saw this map, it was IMMEDIATELY obvious why I am having so much success with varieties of many vegetables from China and Japan... and why varieties from the Southern Ukraine may do very well here.


Jan in NorthEast Arkansas (that's bright blue on the climate map!)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:37PM
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