Now Sowing: Bean, Soybean (April–May)

About soybeans

Common Name:  Soybean, Edamame

Scientific Name:  Glycine Max

Seed Saving Level: Easy


Sow seeds 1-2” deep, 2-4” apart in full sun and well-drained soil once temps reach 60°F. Plants are bushy and can reach 1-3 feet tall. Thin seedlings to 6” apart once they’ve reached 4 inches. Add mulch to maintain moisture and water regularly, careful to leave the flowers and pods dry. Companion plants include cucumbers and corn, but don’t plant near onions or garlic.


Soybeans are self-pollinating. Harvest pods when they are 2-3” long, bright green and plump. Store fresh in the refrigerator. Blanched edamame can be frozen in the pods or shelled.

Seed Saving

Allow pods to dry to a brown color and harvest when the seeds rattle inside. Pull plants up by the roots and hang upside down in a dark, dry area until they dry completely. Manually break pods to remove seeds or crush the beans in a cloth or burlap sack and winnow to remove chaff. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool location.


What to make with soybeans

Recipe: Chopped Soba Miso Salad


  • 4 oz soba noodles
  • ¾ c frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 4 carrots
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • 2 spring onions or scallions (white bulbs and most of the green part)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp miso paste
  • 2 limes


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook 5-8 minutes or according to packet directions until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool quickly, then roughly chop up using kitchen scissors.

While the noodles are cooking, put the edamame in a bowl of cold water and set aside to thaw for 5 minutes; drain. Peel the carrots and spiralize. Remove the rough outer leaves and core from the red cabbage, then thinly slice. Thinly slice the spring onions at an angle. Toast the sesame seeds in a small pan over medium heat until golden.

Put the miso in a bowl. Zest the limes into the bowl and squeeze in the juice. Add a splash of water and mix well.

Mix the vegetables and noodles together. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top. Add dressing.

Source: Lunchbox Salads by Naomi Twigden & Anna Pinder, 2018