Mary's Veggie Garden

June 28, 2012

Growing Edamame Soy

Filed under: Beans,Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:15 am
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Do you eat edamame soy? Then consider growing it in your vegetable garden. Soy is easy to grow and has few pests in Dutchess County, NY.

Edamame Soy ‘Butterbeans’ seedling June 19, 2008

Soy likes full sun and warm soil so it’s best to wait until early June to plant. In D.C., N.Y. sowing on May 23 can result in 50% germination due to cold soil, but plant seed from the same packet on June 7 and almost every seed grows. (Yes, I did this.)

Edamame soy produces stocky, bush type bean plants 2′-3′ tall. I plant my edamame in three rows running the length of a 4′ or 5′ wide bed. The plants eventually touch shoulders and shade the soil, preventing weed germination. I also mulch heavily between the rows with shredded leaves to preserve moisture and prevent weeds while the plants are small.

Edamame soy planting in mid-July.

All the flowers on an edamame soy plant open within a few days, therefore all the pods are ready for harvest about the same time. Harvest pods when the beans completely fill the pod and you see the shape of the beans in the pod. Don’t delay too long, because the beans continue to mature and will eventually dry in the pods.

Harvest edamame soy when the pods are well filled and the shape of the beans shows through the pods.

My Harvest Process 

At harvest time I cut the plants off at the base with pruners or loppers. I trim off the leaves because the pods are more visible on a bare stem. The leaves are recycled back into the garden as mulch. Next I either pull off the pods or use scissors to snip them off.

Edamame harvest: clockwise from top left: plants awaiting processing, bucket of leaves, stems stripped of both leaves & pods, scissors, stems with pods, and center – bin of harvested pods.

It is extremely difficult to remove the beans from uncooked edamame pods, and not worth the effort. Steam or boil the pods for 5-6 minutes then cool in cold water. Squeeze the pod and the beans will pop out easily. Sometimes twisting the pod helps open it.

Removing the beans from the steamed edamame pods.  The variety is Shirofumi.

For fresh edamame, sow small quantities of seed every 7-10 days throughout June. Most varieties of edamame have a long maturity and plantings after mid-July could run into cold weather before harvest. A large planting can provide edamame to freeze for the rest of the year. I make a big planting which I harvest over several days. Evenings I steam the harvest, then we (my family) squeeze the beans from the pods. I freeze the beans on cookie sheets then pour them into containers for storage. If you have a lot of freezer space you can freeze the beans in their pods.

These days there are several varieties of edamame available. ‘Envy’ is common. It has a fairly short days-to-maturity but it’s flavor is mediocre.The other varieties I’ve tried all have a longer maturity but their flavor is much better.

Rabbits love edamame, they eat the beans out of the pods.

And those pests I mentioned? Rabbits love edamame soy and they will sit in the patch, snipping off pods, eating out the beans and leaving the pods behind. Rabbits will also eat young plants. They are the reason my deer netting fence has chicken wire around the bottom. Chipmunks will dig up the seed or nip the top off of a seedling.

If it’s a bad year for Japanese beetles, the beetles eat everything, including soy, but most years they do very little damage. Mexican bean beetles generally ignore soy, and eat it only as a last resort, after the green bean plants are gone.

Many ask ‘What do you do with edamame?’ The frozen shelled beans thaw quickly so it’s easy to throw a handful on a salad and they are also a good way to add protein to winter soups.

I wrote this article for the June 2012 Dutchess Dirt, an email publication from Cornell Cooperative Extension/Dutchess County (NY). I’ve extended the article for this blog publication and added several pictures.

June 25, 2012

Harvest Monday June 25, 2012

Filed under: Broccoli,Cabbage,Carrots,Gardening,Kohlrabi,Peas,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:15 am
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This has been a killer week. Up through Tuesday, June was very cool. Wednesday the daytime temperature hit 97 °F and again Thursday and Friday. With no rain in 10 days, plants are stressed. I’ve been getting out in the early mornings when the temperature is in the 70s to harvest and water.

6/21/2012 Harvest: Cascadia snap peas, Kolibri kohlrabi, Packman broccoli, Yaya carrot thinnings, and an Evergreen bunching onion.

The Thursday collection: from my plot at Vassar Farm –  Yaya carrot thinnings, the first Packman broccoli, an Evergreen bunching onion for the Thursday evening pizza, and two Kolibri kohlrabi. From my home garden – Cascadia snap peas, eaten with the carrots and Cimmaron Romaine lettuce as a lunch salad.

The upper kohlrabi is split. Two or three of them split when small this year and the cause may be the freeze (27 °F) they suffered 2 weeks after transplanting. I’m thinking the freeze, which killed most of the leaves, also damaged the growing point though it did not kill the plant. Usually this variety does not split unless it gets overly large.

Friday evening a gushing thunderstorm dropped the temperatures and broke the drought. What a relief!

Cimmaron Romaine Lettuce

Many of the Cimmaron romaine lettuces decided to bolt in the heat. Since Wednesday I’ve harvested 10 heads – 3 went to friends, two were a salad for the quilt club pot-luck, and we are eating the rest. A couple were heavily trimmed because the outer leaves were bitter, but the hearts were still tender and sweet.

Rubicon Chinese Cabbage – central head is 3.7 pounds

I only planted four Chinese Cabbages – two Optiko and two Rubicon. And all were ready for harvest within 10 days. We don’t eat it that fast. Next year I’m only growing two. I harvested the pictured cabbage, trimmed off all the splayed out and damaged outer leaves and chopped them up for mulch. The remaining head weighted in at 3.7 pounds.

Kossack Kohlrabi

Yesterday I harvested the first of the Kossack kohlrabi. Kossack is said to get large without getting woody. The one on the left weighed in at 1 pound so it is large, but I haven’t cut into it, so I can’t vouch for the taste or texture. This is my first year with this variety.

Harvest for 6/17-6/24:

Lettuce: Cimmaron 10 heads, 8.5 pounds
Peas – .5 pounds snow peas, 1.9 pounds Cascadia snap peas, and 7 ounces of the original Sugar Snap peas – still the best!
Chinese cabbage: one 5 pound Optiko (untrimmed) and a 3.7 pound Rubicon (trimmed).
Kohlrabi: 3 Kolibri at 1.25 pounds and a single 1 pound Kossack.
Scallions: 1 ounce
Carrots: Yaya .75 pounds of thinnings
Broccoli: one Packman head, 7.4 ounces

Several weeks ago I complained the squirrels were digging in my spinach. They dug 3 or 4 times and each time dug 3 holes in the same spots. I finally discovered what they were looking for, but never found:

Nut tree in the spinach patch.

I haven’t identified the tree – it could be a black walnut, hickory, or butternut; all grow in this area. When I dug up the tree the nut shell didn’t come up with the tree, making the ID more difficult.

Please check in with Daphne’s Dandelions to see what gardeners are harvesting around the world.

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