Soybeans are nutritious edible legumes that contain a high content of magnesium, fiber, calcium, iron, protein, and other minerals and vitamins. They are versatile, and one can dry them, ferment, cook, or use them to make tofu, flour, or milk. Many commercial farmers engage in soybean production as a source of income and just for subsistence farming. But did you know that you can also grow soybeans in your backyard back at home?
Here are five easy tips for doing that.
Know-How to Plant the Seeds
Planting soybeans is relatively easy. Ensure that you select the right type of seeds by purchasing only certified products. After you choose a seed variety, check whether you have the right soil. The soil bed should be well-drained with the right balance of pH and nutrients, have no weeds, and not prone to erosion. When it comes to planting, the timing needs to be perfect for the highest yields. The best planting time is from May, basically about a fortnight after the last frost. That means you have to prepare the seedbed a bit early.
You also need to use manure to provide the right balance of nutrients. And since soybeans require a lot of nitrogen when growing, inoculate seeds with a nitrogen-fixing bacterium before planting. The good thing is that the process is simple, just place soybeans in a bucket and sprinkle them with the bacterium. Next, plant seeds 1.5-inch-deep and 3 inches apart and row 15 inches apart.
Choose the Right Varieties
There are more than 2500 varieties of the soybean plant. Ensure that you have knowledge of each variety and its benefits and growing conditions. Next, pick a variety that can grow well in your soil type and climate zone.
If you are unsure of the best variety to grow, you should seek information from expert farmers or specialists. Use reliable sources like the U.S. Soybean Export Council to find out essential details on soybeans, as the nutrition value of a particular variety.
Protect them From Animals, and Practice Thinning
Like wild animals like deer or domestic ones like rabbits like soybeans, you need to protect the crops from destruction. Fencing around your home garden is an excellent way to keep the animals away. Once the soybeans sprout just a few inches, thin out weak plants to encourage the strong stems from growing healthy. Thinning out involves cutting the top parts and not disrupting the roots of the plant.
Water is an essential factor in the cultivation stage. Soybeans need a lot of water when they are about to start growing just before they erupt from the soil, during the development of pods, and flowering. You can also add manure during the flowering stage or after the first harvest to encourage more pods. Always understand the balance of nutrients first before using synthetic fertilizers.
Decide Which Weed Control Method to Use
Weed is a primary concern during the growth of any plant. In soybeans, it is an issue during the early stages of development. You can control weeds using the pre-emergence or post-emergence method. The pre-emergence process involves treating the soil with herbicide weeks before planting. It kills the weeds on sight and prevents the growth of weeds in the future.
Post-emergence weed control involves spraying weeds when the plants have matured. Such herbicides are selective and only kill the weeds, and have no adverse effect on the plant. Practicing good farm hygiene, such as frequent tillage, will also help keep the weeds at bay.
Understand How to Harvest and Store them Properly
After planting in May, they begin to mature in September, and you can harvest them; seeds are fully grown and plumb, while pods are green. You must harvest before the pools turn yellow and compromise their quality and flavor. Research shows that they contain about 45 to 55% moisture when mature, and it must dry before harvesting. After harvesting, don't store the pods in a moist area for long because they will begin to rot or get infected.
Harvesting soybeans is pretty straightforward and involves picking the entire pod. Next, remove the pod's seeds slowly with your hands as you place them in a clean container. You can cook them and eat them immediately. You can also store them in the fridge for a while, dry, or freeze them to keep them fresh longer.
Anyone can quickly grow soybeans at home. It doesn’t occupy a lot of space and requires no special care or attention. Just ensure that you source your products from reliable sources and use these tips to better your skills. The main factors to consider are the seed variety, seed spacing, manure application, and weed control. Harvesting is easy, and as long as you have adequate storage, you can enjoy your supply for a long time.
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