Soybean Harvest Summer 2013

Oh soybeans! I love you little guys! Every single one of you! Soybeans were 2012’s winner of the “OMG, What a Surprise!” award so you know it was going to get it’s time in the spotlight in this year’s garden too.  

I had become increasingly obsessed with edamame so last year I spent some time figuring out what soybeans would work best for edamame, as well as shelling out the beans to use in soups, rice dishes, throwing in my mouth by itself, etc.  So we planted way too many plants for 1 (not sane) person, thinking just a few beans would show up, but no… they all turned up.  It was soybean insanity here last summer.  Honestly, it was madness.    So this year I decided to plant a little less, knowing how well these plants do grow.  We ended up planting close to 30 plants and as happily expected, every single one produced beautifully.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This is how the calendar works:
The broccoli and cauliflower live in the containers until about early June, we pull them all out when they’re done  (it’s a sad day, I cry at least 3 times).
Soy beans got planted directly into the containers on June 16th.  
We harvest the soybeans on September 2 and remove the plants.
Broccoli and cauliflower seedlings moved back into their containers on September 5 to finish the season.

So let’s get harvesting soy beans!

I decided I want to start bringing video and interactive content on Brooklyn Farm Girl so Matthew and I made a quick and fun stop motion video of harvesting the soybeans!   

Now let’s look some at pictures to watch the progress…

Broccoli plants are cut and ripped out of the container (*tear tear*) in early June.

Soy beans are planted directly into the soil.

Water, Water, Dance, Dance.

Then the first soy bean comes up! I cheer!

A few weekes later, the soy beans continue to grow..

And they get bigger..

And they become giant bushy beauties!

You know they’re ready to harvest when the plant leaves start to turn yellow, as well as when the beans get to a full size.  You don’t want them to get too big as they aren’t as tasty, so use your judgement.   Also make sure you read the seed pack, it will tell you approximately how many days to full  maturity.   When we harvest we cut the entire plant off, we feel it’s easier to do this all at once.  

Look at all those beans on one plant!

So then you take a afternoon and one by one pinch each bean off the plant.  While we were doing this it started to rain, talk about dedication.

I had to open one up, look at the beauty! I  ate these immediately.

During this soybean harvest afternoon your husband might run away from.  Not because he doesn’t love you, because he does.  But because the soybean plant he was working on picking beans off of, had a spider on! Then he tried another one, and it had a spider on!  So then he leaves you do the rest but stands there and cheers you on from a distance incase there are more spiders that might chase him.  Boys. 

Look at all these soybeans!  My basket almost broke.  My arm  too.

This is my annual Soybean Monster picture I take every year.

And now comes the fun part.  I am lying, it’s not really fun but it has to be done.  You blanch the soybeans, throw them in a ice bath, and then set them out to dry.

It’s pure intimidation seeing all these beans…

And then because I planned on freezing the individual shelled soy beans, you have the brutal task of pushing every single bean out.  Take a afternoon, take a evening.   Make yourself some tea.   Put on some music.  Make sure you’re comfortable.  This takes a bit of time.  If you don’t want the individual beans and plan on using it as edamame then skip this step and go straight to cooking or freezing the whole pods. 

Throw on some Sopranos, make your loved ones help you (guilt them if you have to) and keep shelling! 

Then package them into freezer bags and freeze.  Now you have soy beans all winter long!

Hope you liked our Soybean Harvest! If you’re looking for a bean to grow through the summer, give Soybeans a chance! 


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