Edamame as Starter Crop

#SoilTreatment #Cisbay #AGNLite #UsefulCropsForNewSoil

Note: This post is purely based on growers' observations, your results may vary. No part of this can be reused without written permission from the blog writer.

Note: No part of this document, be it pictures or content can be reproduced/reused without written permission to this blog owner.

It is very common that when we are blessed with a little planting space in highly urbanised Singapore, the soil is usually hard and clayey like in picture below. Top soil is rare onsite.

To acquire good top soil cost a lot too. So to limit the upfront cost, we usually buy average garden soil and kick start from there.

For areas that we want immediate results, we add nutrients like compost/animal manure and good water draining components (  coarse sand/perlite/pumice) as well as soil enzyme like AGN Lite to amend the soil to the right level for the crops we intend to grow. 

For our case, cabbages, cauliflowers and sweet melons are planted on well amended soil like below. Full of life.

We do however have some areas that we only intend to plant top crops 3 months later. For this, we use acquired basic garden soil, add well draining cheap components like sand and plant soil amendment crops on them.  Sacrifice a bit of time, enrich the soil without breaking our bank, yet still get the food we want. 

Edamame has been our favourite crop for soil amendment since we started our growing journey more than 10 years ago. It is easy to grow and doesn't need trellis setup like beans. This makes it a very easy crop for simple fuss free planting. We also use dwarf long bean or cowpeas for the same purpose. But edamame remains our favourite.

Journey Of Seeding

#Seedings #InitialGrowing #Edamame #SeedsFromDonDonDonki #PlantFromFreshPods #FussFreeCrops

This round, we planted from fresh pods of Don Don Donki edamame. We have tried other fresh pods too, but those from Japan  tastes the best till date. 

You just need to crack open the fresh edamame pods, squeeze the soybeans out of the pod and plant them directly into soil. They will usually sprout by day 3-7. Picture below shows the just sprouted edamame on day 3.

Note: Edamame seed packs from renowned suppliers both local and overseas that we have tested somehow did not sprout well till date. Please keep your seeds after first harvest and sow immediately. Do not keep them, hoping to sow later. Edamame dry seeds do not sprout well from our experience. Always keep at least one plant alive if you want to keep your seeds going.

Journey of Growth

#FruitsAppearance #ReadyForHarvest #InterlaceNextCrops
They can be transplanted typically by day 14 to 18 onto the planting plot. They need a space of at least 25x25cm to grow well. A supporting stick of about 30 to 40cm height is helpful to help the shrubs start upright especially when they start to fruit and may tilt over due to the weight of the pods.

Picture below shows a freshly transplanted edamame seedlings (around 20 days from seeds, round 2, the soil has improve quite a fair bit already).

Edamame is really a very hardy plant. For optimal production, they need full sun. They are relatively drought resistance and can fruit well with daily watering of only once, even on very warm day. ( beyond 34 degree C ambient temperature translated to beyond 40 degree C green house temperature). 

They can still grow without full sun. But the plant will appear weak and look like a climber with very weak stem. Their yield will be compromised too

To be fruitful, it is recommended to fertilise the plants twice throughout their lifetime. First round one week after transplant and second time once edamame pods started forming ( usually within a week after flowering). We typically water them with AGN Lite immediately after fertilising too. 

Week 10, above and below shown the full grown edamame with lots of edamame pods ready for harvest in a week time. They typically are ready by week 11/Week 12 from seeds

The pods will look big and fat and you can harvest them by pulling out the whole plant and harvest the edamame pods by cutting them from the stem. In Japan, you may see edamame pods sold while still attached to the stems.

Picture of edamame pods ready for harvest on week 11. Overripe edamame pods will start turning yellowish. The fresh soybeans inside may start to turn brown or even rot. We usually keep those fattest and best looking pods ( slight yellowish is fine) for next planting. 

The edamame pods on the left go into our tummies while those on the right are sowed for the next planting cycle.

Enrich the Soil

#EnrichTheSoil #NotTheBestWayButWorks #Kill2BirdsWithOneStone

From time to time, we used edamame to treat our lousy soil. But to speed things up a bit, we water the soil with soil enzymes AGN Lite to enrich the soil eco system.

We further save time by doing interlaced planting 2 weeks before the pods are ready for harvest. The shrubs gave some shade to the seedlings ( napa cabbage for this case) while still working hard to treat the soil.

The picture on the left above shows an almost ready edamame pods. We estimate that they will be ready for harvest in 2 weeks. The plant being grown in bad soil will not be very bushy and fruitful. Hence, there will be space between them. We therefore transplanted some seedlings in-between them. Refer to the circles on the right picture.

The seedlings will be shaded by the edamame shrubs while stabilising. This  also cut down the total time needed by the vegetables to grow to full size. The Napa cabbage in this case, growing time will be shorten by closed to 1.5 weeks. This vegetable can grow up to a diameter of 60 to 90cm hence please do not cramp them up.

Two weeks later, once the edamame pods are ready to be harvest, you can just cut away the plant (instead of pulling them up and risk disturbing the vegetables seedings planted side by side), leave the stub in the soil, free out the space for the vegetables to grow to full size. You can clear all the roots once you have harvested all the vegetables. Treat the soil once and they are ready for the next crop.

Picture above shows the Napa cabbage in full size 4 weeks later. Not as pretty and big (diameter only 60cm vs 80-90cm) when grown in well treated soil but good enough for consumption.

Note: With poor soil, the edamame plants are weak and have some mealy bugs on them. Hence be careful to clear them out totally and plant seedlings which are less susceptible to mealy bugs as the next crop whenever possible. If you have root mealy on the edamame, do not do this. Clear out the edamame as soon as possible to prevent further spread.

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