Growing soybeans is not that difficult for most gardeners as it’s a hearty, resilient plant. They can be grown in partial shade, but full sunlight and even watering will ensure the highest yields.
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Soybeans grow best in full sun and in loose, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, but they can also tolerate poor soil (hence their frequent use as a cover crop).
It is best to plant the seeds when the soil temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 and 16 C) (but no sooner than the last frost date) as warmer temperatures lead to higher germination rates. Higher germination rates will give the seeds a better chance of avoiding diseases.
If you don’t want to take your soil’s temperature, having consistent daytime air temperatures in the 70’s (21.7 degrees Celsius) is generally a good time to plant.
Keep the seeds consistently watered until the seedlings sprout.
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Water your soybeans at their base throughout their growth to prevent disease and plant damage.
Add organic mulch when soil temperatures increase above 65 degrees F (18 C) to retain moisture and smother out garden weed growth, and introduce a couple inches of compost about half way through their growing season.
If you plant to shell and use your soybeans fresh, you can harvest them about 50 to 60 days after planting.
Dry soybeans, on the other hand, require at least three months in the ground. For dry soybeans, pull the entire plant out of the ground and hang it upside-down to dry. You can shell beans as soon as the pods are completely dry.
Fresh soybeans stored in ideal conditions (see snapshot box below) will keep for up to a week or more. You can also freeze, can or dry them for a much longer storage life (up to one year).
Storage temperature: 32 to 40 degrees F (0 to 4.44 degrees C)
Humidity: 90 to 95% relative humidity
Storage life (unfrozen in above conditions): about 1 week
Storage life (frozen): Up to 1 year
Seed longevity: 2 to 3 years
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Soybeans. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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