Today is another ninety degree day and another day of planting soybeans for Mike. I’m still laid-up with my ankle.
I watched the hits on the blog to see which drew the most readers and apparently you all like the “how to” sorts of stories, so I’ll try to accommodate your interests a bit more on that as we go. Obviously, few people plant fields and fields of soybeans, since space is limited. Fewer would know what to do with soy if they did, thinking the products they previously bought have to be commercially produced…at least other than young green edamame. Certainly, commercial uses like feed, soy sauce, tofu, etc. are some of the uses for our beans, but the beans are also good at home. I encourage the home gardener to try planting a few.
The plants produce a lush foliage with lavender blossoms as they mature that are attractive in their own right, but the beans themselves can be picked as edamame or shucked like any other dried bean to make terrific baked beans in the crock pot or a pleasing snack when roasted in a smidgen of oil and salted. They are higher in protein than peanuts, but similar in flavor when roasted in the oven or the microwave. A dusting of wasabe powder gives them a little zing, if you prefer a little spicey flavor.
Prepare your soil as you would for any other type of bean. Soybeans are a bush variety, so no staking is necessary like climbing varieties of beans. Shallow planting in a moist soil ensures quick germination. On hot, dry days like today, the seeds will patiently wait for a good summer shower. Plants will emerge from the soil in just a few days. Keep them watered and pick them daily as the green soybean pods develop or wait until the pods dry for other uses. Field grown soybeans are only picked dry with a combine which snips off the plants and shakes the beans loose into a hopper. Once the hopper is full, the beans are pumped into an awaiting dump truck or semi, ready to be hauled for sale or stored.
Since the home gardener is only concerned with soy for his own use, once harvested, he only need concentrate on storage. They freeze well when green and store almost indefinitely when dry. For Mike, the soybeans are a fundamental source of farm income; therefore, he watches the soybean futures market carefully gambling, in a manner of speaking, when his beans will bring the best profit over the costs of seed, field preparation, and harvesting. If the market is down, he stores the beans and waits awhile. Since he has already gone out to the field, I can’t link to the site he prefers, but here is a good suggestion of what he watches for: Bloomberg
Regardless of market performance, for the home gardener, soybeans are an excellent “experiment” for the dinner table, particularly if you are looking for a source of high protein that is a little different from the norm. When I can walk, I’ll post a recipe for baked soybeans, which I think you might enjoy. And I haven’t forgotten the recipe I owe you for Burgoo.
Either WordPress or my computer are having a little problem today, so please forgive typos and misspellings, as I’m unable to correct them without losing some of the post.