Jump To Section
What Is Edamame?
Edamame are young, green soybeans that are picked early, unlike mature soybeans that are dry and firm, and used for making soy products like tofu and soymilk. Edamame beans make great additions to soups, stir-fries, noodles, and salads.
How to Plant Edamame
Edamame plants grow best when air and soil temperatures reach at least 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, without danger of frost. Once your soil is workable, you’re ready to start growing.
- Sow seeds. Plant edamame seeds one to two inches deep in your soil, about three inches apart in an area of your garden that receives full sun. Rows should be spaced two feet apart.
- Stagger planting. For a continuous harvest, plant seeds again at least 10 days after the previous planting.
- Practice companion planting. Corn, squash, celery, and strawberries all make fine companions for your edamame plant. Marigolds can help attract beneficial insects that deter pests like Mexican bean beetles and whiteflies.
How to Care for Edamame
Edamame is an easy plant to care for and requires only a few basic maintenance techniques.
- Maintain a slightly acidic soil. Edamame thrives best with a soil pH of 6.0. Use compost to keep a rich soil filled with nutrients. However, as a green bean, edamame is capable of fixing its own nitrogen, so fertilizer isn’t usually necessary.
- Thin your plants. When the plants reach around four inches tall, thin the superfluous leaves until your plants are six inches apart, which can help prevent overcrowding.
- Weed carefully. Edamame plants have delicate roots, so be mindful not to damage them while weeding.
- Water regularly. Edamame plants should be watered throughout the season, even after blossoming. Keep the soil moist but not overwatered.
- Check for pests. Aphids, slugs, Japanese beetles, and snails are all garden pests that can feed on your soybean plants. Regularly check the foliage and soil for any pest indicators (like holes in the leaves or slime trails), and take measures to eliminate these threats. You can remove snails and slugs by hand, and use an organic insecticide to eliminate other pests.
How to Harvest Edamame
Edamame can take anywhere between 90 and 150 days from seed to pod. Edamame is ready to harvest when the pods are bright green, filled with plump seeds, and at least two to three inches long. When harvesting edamame, snap the soybean pods from the plant or use scissors—do not tear the edamame pods from the plant. Pods that turn yellow are overripe but can still be eaten, however, they will have more of a lima bean texture and taste.
Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass Annual Membership and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.