Growing Japanese soybeans in home garden

by Lala

When we visited Japan in June, our Kyoto host mom Haruna made us a simple but very delicious snack of soybeans boiled in salted water in their pods. She showed us how to pop the beans out of the tough pods…but only after I’d tried to mange tout the thing and ended up with a lot more fibre than I expected, ha! We polished off a heaping bowl of the stuff before our traditional Japanese dinner that night.

On our last day in Kyoto, Haruna took me shopping and I managed to get some interesting things for the garden and snacks of course. We planted the soybeans about three weeks ago and I almost forgot about them. From the full packet, so far two strong sprouts have emerged. They are growing in full sun in the front garden.

I haven’t seen soybean plants or seeds in any garden centre in South Africa, but I do see fields upon fields of them when we drive past the farms in the Free State and Mpumalanga on our holidays. That gives me some confidence that they can grow here. I certainly hope more sprout up. Two plants will hardly be enough for one person’s pre dinner snack come autumn.

Soybean plant growing in home garden

The plants are quite lovely to look at and seem healthy. They have hairy stems, just like the outside of the bean pods I remember from Kyoto.

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