How To Grow Soy Beans

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Soy Beans

Growing Soy Beans

Discover the joy and benefits of growing your own soy beans in your home garden with our comprehensive guide, "How to Grow Soy Beans". Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, our tips, tricks and expert advice will assist you in producing a prosperous soy bean crop. Planting and cultivating soy beans can be a rewarding experience, yielding countless benefits from nutritional to environmental. Through the course of this article, you will learn about the right soil type, optimal planting times, pest control, and how to harvest your soy beans when they're ready. So, start your soy bean journey today, and soon you'll be enjoying fresh, organic, homegrown produce from your very own backyard. Keep reading to unlock your green thumb potential!

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Cheatsheet: Growing Soy Beans

✅ Optimal Growing Conditions

✔️ Full sun (6+ hours per day)

✔️ Well-drained soil with pH 6-7

✔️ Adequate moisture (1-1.5 inches per week)

🌱 Planting Tips

💡 Plant after last frost date

💡 Sow 1-2 inches deep, 2-4 inches apart

💡 Space rows 30-36 inches apart

🌿 Maintenance

🔧 Regular weeding to prevent competition

🔧 Apply organic fertilizer during flowering

🔧 Monitor for pests like aphids and mites

🌽 Harvesting

🔪 Harvest when 80% of pods are mature

🔪 Hold plants firmly and pull pods off

🔪 Collect beans in a clean, dry container

💪 Health Benefits

🌿 Excellent plant-based protein source

🌿 High in fiber, vitamins, and minerals

🌿 May support heart health and lower cholesterol

🌎 Sustainability

🌿 Fixes nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers

🌿 Less water-intensive compared to other crops

🌿 Promotes crop rotation and diversification

Growing Soy Beans

Choosing the Right Varieties

First off, selecting the right variety of soy beans is critical to your success. Different varieties can be tailored to your climate and soil type.

I personally swear by the "Tohya" and "Envy" varieties. They have excellent yields and are resistant to pests.

Fun fact: There are over 2500 varieties of soybeans available globally.

Preparing the Soil

For optimal growth, soil preparation is key. Soy beans prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

I usually till my garden beds and add compost a few weeks before planting. This enriches the soil with necessary nutrients.


The best time to plant soy beans is after the danger of frost has passed, and soil temperatures have warmed to at least 55°F (13°C).

Spacing is crucial when planting. Space your seeds about 2-4 inches apart and rows 18-30 inches apart.

I like to plant mine about 1 to 1.5 inches deep. Too shallow, and they dry out; too deep, and they struggle to emerge.

Watering and Mulching

Soy beans need about 1 inch of water per week. I always keep an eye on the weather; too much rain can cause root rot.

Use mulch around plants to retain moisture and prevent weeds from stealing nutrients.

  • Water consistently, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • A soaker hose or drip irrigation is preferable to avoid wetting the foliage.

Pest and Disease Control

In my experience, pest control is essential. Common pests include aphids and Japanese beetles. I use neem oil as a natural deterrent.

Watch out for fungal diseases like root rot and downy mildew. Crop rotation can significantly reduce the risk of disease.

A study found that rotating soybeans with corn can reduce root rot by 60%.


Harvest soybeans when pods are fully grown and bright green. They should be plump but not hard.

Personally, I usually do a taste test. If they’re sweet and tender, they’re ready!

  • Use both hands to pinch the pods off the plant gently.
  • Store beans in the refrigerator; they stay fresh for up to a week.

Storing and Using Soy Beans

After harvesting, you can dry soybeans for long-term storage. Spread them out and let them air dry.

Use a breathable container to avoid moisture build-up, which can cause mold. I like to store mine in cloth bags.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the best time for growing soy beans?

The best time for growing soy beans is during the warm season, typically in late spring to early summer.

2. How do I prepare the soil for growing soy beans?

Prepare the soil by removing weeds and loosening it to a depth of 4-6 inches. Mix in well-aged compost or organic matter to improve fertility.

3. How far apart should I space the soy bean plants?

Space soy bean plants about 2-4 inches apart to allow for proper growth and air circulation.

4. What type of sunlight do soy beans require?

Soy beans thrive in full sunlight and require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

5. How often should I water my soy bean plants?

Water soy bean plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Aim to provide about 1 inch of water per week.

6. Are soy beans susceptible to any pests or diseases?

Yes, soy beans can be susceptible to pests such as aphids and diseases like fungal infections. Monitor regularly and take appropriate measures if needed.

7. When are soy beans ready to harvest?

Soy beans are ready to harvest when the pods have filled out and turned a mature color. Typically, this is around 100 days after planting.

8. How do I harvest and store soy beans?

Harvest soy beans by picking the pods when they are fully mature. Remove the beans from the pods and store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

9. Can I save seeds from my soy bean plants for future planting?

Yes, you can save seeds from mature soy bean plants for future planting. Make sure the seeds are fully dry before storing them in a cool, dry place.

10. Do soy beans require any special maintenance?

Soy beans generally require minimal maintenance. However, regular weeding and providing support for taller varieties may be necessary.

When the pods are dark brown and the seeds within are yellow, it’s time to harvest. For maximum flavor, pick the pods and allow them to dry in the sun before shelling the beans. Once they are dry, the beans can be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place for long-term storage.Growing soybeans requires a bit of know-how, but the effort is worth it for the bounty of beans you can enjoy for months and years to come. With the right conditions, care and maintenance, you can enjoy a healthy and abundant harvest of soybeans from your own garden.Soybeans are incredibly versatile, nutritious, and easy to grow, making them a great choice for anyone looking to add a protein-packed legume to their garden. Not only are soybeans full of essential nutrients such as essential amino acids, but they can be eaten green, cooked, processed into a variety of different ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, and soy milk, or used for animal feed. As a bonus, soybeans are used as an effective natural soil-enricher, providing nitrogen to the soil and increasing fertility.

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