new issue on salenow!

How to grow edamame

Story by

SIMON WEBSTER tries growing a Japanese delicacy.

Anyone who has tried edamame in a Japanese restaurant will know that they make an oishii snack. 

Also known as “edible soybean”, “green soybean” and “vegetable soybean”, edamame varieties are picked when young, steamed in the pod and served with lots of salt. Popping those succulent, shiny little green devils out of their pods and into your mouth is an activity that goes particularly well with a glass of cold beer.

I’m also finding them easy to grow, so far. About 10 weeks after I planted them in a moderately fertile raised bed, my plants are starting to flower, and are about a metre tall. They’ve produced an enormous amount of green matter, which I will incorporate into the soil after I’ve cropped the beans.

This makes edamame an edible plant and a green manure all in one, and as a legume, it is also improving my garden by taking nitrogen from the air and putting it in the soil (I coated them with the appropriate inoculant before sowing, so the right bacteria are on hand to make this nitrogen-fixing process work).

Pests such as corn earworm, stinkbugs and aphids can apparently give edamame a bit of a hiding so I’m growing mine under a net (I’ve moved it to one side for the picture). Soybeans are self-pollinating, so you don’t have to worry about giving insects access to the flowers to produce a crop.

If you’re north of Sydney, give them a whirl. You can find them through online seed companies such as Green Harvest, which says you can sow until February or March.