Growing and Saving the Seed Of Soya Beans

Latin name Glycine max, soybean is an annual member of the legume, or bean, family. This bush bean is quite easy to grow, and despite its popularity in industrialized, large-scale agriculture, it also makes a lovely bean to grow in the small backyard garden. 



Soybeans originated in East Asia and have been documented in China since about 1100 BC. The soybean is today planted on a massive scale in the U.S and globally for processing into a number of products.


  • Shelled and cooked as edamame
  • Dried, can be made into soymilk, tofu and many other tasty foodstuffs.
  • NOTE: Soybeans should not be eaten raw!



  • Direct sow seeds after all chance of frost has passed and soil is reliably warm.
  • Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart in rows 2-2.5 feet apart.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65-77 F.
  • Seeds germinate in 5-7 days.


  • Provide full sun, average soil and consistent moisture. These bush plants will produce tons of pods.
  • Harvest for fresh edamame when pods are green and plump; once pods turn yellow the flavor and texture won't be ideal for fresh edamame.
  • Be sure not to eat the soybeans/edamame raw—they must be cooked!
  • Allow beans to completely dry on plant for dry beans or for making processed soy foods.


  • Resist the urge to plant soybeans too early as this can cause a number of rot and pest issues.
  • Planting into adequately warm soil is the best way to avoid these issues.


  • This annual self-pollinating crop will not readily cross with other soybean varieties. However, a distance of 10-20 feet between different soybean varieties will really ensure purity.
  • Allow pods to brown and dry on plant.
  • If frost or wet weather is expected, pull plants and hang indoors in a warm, dry location until seeds are fully dry.
  • Test with your fingernail; seeds that can't be dented are mature enough to store.
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry location.