How to grow more edamame

eyes5July 3, 2008

I'm growing edamame for the first time, and my plants turned out tiny. There's only about 3-5 branches per plant, three leaves per branch, and they're about to flower now. I'm wondering, is there a good way to make my plants more prolific next year? I innoculated them as seeds and started them indoors, and it seemed like as soon as I transplanted them their growing would slow to a crawl.

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micronthecat(7, North Carolina)

I have no idea how to answer your question, but I have one for you, and that is, where did you get your edamame seeds? I can't find them anywhere around here. :(


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 7:05PM
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I went to Garden Works and I had to ask one of the employees and it took her a while to find it. Apparently they're really popular! The brand is 'Renee's Garden Seeds'.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 10:00PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Most mail-order catalogs offer at least one edamame soybean. SSE and Territorial offer several. But the best selection is offered by Asian seed companies, such as Evergreen Y. H. and Kitazawa.

Eyes5, where are you located? This has not been a good year for soybeans in the northern tier of states; too cool and wet. They need warm temperatures to do well. They also need plenty of direct sun, so the large number of cloudy days this year has set them (and many other vegetables) behind in development. I grow a lot of soybeans for preservation, so normally my emphasis is on dry seed... I've written off this year except for harvesting edamame.

The inoculant may - or may not - be beneficial. In my area, most gardens are on former farm land, so the bacteria is already present, and there is no need. I've experimented with planting soybeans both with- and without inoculant, and found no observable difference. It couldn't hurt, though.

The degree of branching is largely determined by the variety, but it can be reduced by crowding. Most of the edamame types will branch well if given sufficient space, but not to the same degree as field soybeans. The most heavily-branched edamame soybean I have grown was "Oosodefuri", which I obtained from the former Peace Seeds.

Two years ago, I did a big experiment with sowing soybeans as transplants, vice direct seeding. 28 varieties were involved, not all of them edamame. The transplants were stockier & yielded better, partly due to greater spacing... but they were not much earlier. Soybeans are daylength sensitive, so they tend to flower near the same time, regardless of when they are planted. For every 3 days gained in planting earlier, there was only about a day gained in maturity.

My recommendations are to plant soybeans when the soil has warmed thoroughly, not by the calendar. Be sure they have a location with full sun, and good drainage. Most edamame soybeans are 18-24" tall, and will yield best if given plenty of room - at least 4-6" between plants, with up to 12" if you have the space. Rows should be about 24" apart.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 4:53PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Is the edamame a particular variety of soybean or just any soybean can be used for edamame...

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 8:19AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Ruthie, any soybean can be eaten green as edamame; but not all are suitable. Most field soybeans are small, yellow, and may not be palatable. They are also mostly GMO (genetically modified), so if that matters to you (as it does to me) then you might not choose to eat them.

Most edamame soybeans are green when dry, although there are some yellow, black, and bi-colored cultivars. They are also much larger, and were bred to have tender skins, and better flavor.

Some of the better varieties available are "Butterbean" (Johnny's), "Sayamusume" (Territorial), "Shirofumi" (SSE), and "Gion" (Evergreen Y. H.).

There is also a good one available through the University of Illinios/Urbana (the home of the USDA's soybean repository). It is "Gardensoy 24"... and it is free for the asking. You can find more info on it in the thread below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edamame Seeds Available

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 11:23AM
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Hi! I'm trying to grow edamame indoors (we live in a small apartment and don't really have outdoor gardening space). Unfortunately, the position of our building and the trees around it means that our window only gets direct sunlight after about 1 in the afternoon, and - from what I understand - edamame requires quite a bit more than that. Can I put a certain type of lamp or light bulb over the plant to make up for the lost sunlight hours?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 7:50PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

To grow edamame indoors would require a bright, full-spectrum light source, something like HPS. You might want to check out the Gardening Under Lights Forum for recommendations.

But before you do... you might want to investigate "OPP" gardening (on Other People's Property). I have lived in many urban locations (including my current one) where I did not have enough space at home to have the garden I wanted. Without exception, I have been able to find land on which to garden, usually more than I needed, often with water paid for!

You can find a discussion of this issue in the thread below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Allotments

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 12:47AM
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Is the black soybean Johnny's sells good as edamame? Also, would the bean be black or green at the edamame stage? I love the idea of black edamame!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:19PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

While searching for something else, I came across this thread, and realized that I never answered the last question. Am I late to reply or what??? :-)

Soybeans that are black when dry will be either green (if picked early) or red (if the seeds have matured). I grew "Black Pearl", and it had large red beans in the late stage - very attractive. The skin of the beans was thicker than I liked, though, so I had to 'pop' them twice... once to get the seeds out of the pod, once more to squeeze the bean out of its skin. The flavor was pretty good, but that's a lotta popping. Probably the reason I haven't grown it since.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 8:41PM
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I am late also, Zeedman! I hope I'm not hijacking a thread the original poster is subscribing to by saying so.

My 2011 soy crop was excellent! I didn't grow a black edamame, tho'. Had one that's called Bei that has just done a real good job for me!

After a few years of narrowing the selection down to the best performer for a difficult place to grow soybeans, maybe this year, I'll add another variety. But, I hardly feel the need.

You know, I look into this forum - maybe - once a month but just can't resist the opportunity to say, thanks a lot for another good season!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 12:28AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Good to hear from you again, Steve! It's been awhile. Glad to hear that Bei 77-6177 has done well for you. I take it that GL 2216/84 (the one from N. Korea) didn't make the cut?

Take your time, I'll wait. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 1:03AM
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I grew the North Korean for 3 years, or was it 4 years. It finished a strong 2nd each season, Chris.

Probably influenced by the name more than anything, I grew Sapporo Midori probably 1 more year than was really necessary to realize it wasn't doing very well here . . .

This year, I am planning to do a little staggering of the sowing, hoping to extend the fresh edamame season. I can't get too carried away with this, however. The full maturing of the seed doesn't occur until well into September so, saved seed will have to come from the 1st sowing in May.

Thanks for helping to make the challenges interesting, productive and experiences to look forward to. (I guess I'm shooting for that 50th season just a few years down the road. Maybe my back can hold up. ;o)


    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 9:48AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Beer Friend did well in my garden last year and did well in a friend's garden for the past two or more years. The plant is huge, about waist high, and the seeds are fairly large.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:30PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"Beer Friend" is one of the few commercial varieties I've yet to grow. It must be pretty good, several sources carry it. I won't be able to grow it for at least two years, though, until I renew my aging soybean collection.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 8:13PM
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