Growing Soybeans:
Soybean Planting Done Organically

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.

Growing Soybeans: Plant Snapshot (Glycine max)

Growing Soybeans
  • Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Annual – ready to harvest approximately 100 days after planting.
  • Recommended varieties: Black Jet, Savamusume, Envy, Beer Friend
  • Cold tolerance: Warm weather – Will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil. Plant them at about the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring.
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Phaseolus: Beans; Poaceae: Corn
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory
    • Avoid: Onion, garlic
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Soybean Planting

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

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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.

Snapshot: Planting Soybeans

  • Planting depth: about 1-2 inches (25 to 50 mm)
  • Spacing in rows: about 2-4 inches (5.08 to 10.16 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.6 to 21.1 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: about 100 days
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Growing Soybeans: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

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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.

Snapshot: Growing Soybeans

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6.0 to 6.8
  • Growing soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.6 to 21.1 degrees C)
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Growing Soybeans: Harvesting Time

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.

Snapshot: Harvesting Soybeans

  • Time to harvest: About 7 to 9 weeks for shelling and fresh use; about 14 to 15 weeks for dry soybeans.
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Storing Soybeans and Freezing Soybeans

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).

Snapshot: Storing Soybeans & Freezing Soybeans

  • 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

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Growing Soybeans: Pests & Diseases

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.


  • Aphids
  • Armyworms
  • Bean weevils
  • Corn earworm
  • Cucumber beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Darkling beetles
  • Earwigs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Leafhoppers
  • Leafminers
  • Loopers
  • Lycaenid pod borers
  • Lygus bugs
  • Nematodes
  • Saltmarsh caterpillar
  • Seedcom maggots
  • Snails/slugs
  • Spider mites
  • Stink bugs
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Wireworms


  • Bean rust
  • Curly top
  • Damping off
  • Fusarium root rot
  • Mosaic viruses
  • Powdery mildew
  • White mold
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Soybeans

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