The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Edamame, Year Two

Last season a gardener scored edamame seed, which can be hard to come by. Perhaps you’ve eaten edamame at a Japanese restaurant. You might have been served a steaming plate of salted pods for eating the tender legumes within. That’s an experience the garden now allows people to enjoy at home.

Steamed edamame
We harvested the edamame the first weekend in September. Gardeners pulled the plants right out of the ground, all except for a few we saved to dry into seeds for the 2023 crop.
Gardeners separated the pods from the plants. The plants went onto the garden waste windrow. As legumes, they’re good nitrogen fixers and contribute to healthy soil.
Each pile of pods represents a share for gardeners to take home to enjoy.
This photo shows the root nodules on the edamame. The nodules host nitrogen-fixing bacteria from rhizobacteria (the inoculum), our friends. However only a few plants showed lots of nodules. The plants grew well anyway. It may be that the soil nitrogen level is generally very high and the rhizobacteria were not favored. It will be interesting to look at the roots of our other legumes.

Here’s what the garden’s edamame team leader wrote about this crop.

When we harvested the edamame, we selected some for eating fresh and protected some of the most robust plants to save for seed stock. (Edamame seed has been tricky to get for years.)

We left perhaps 20 plants to fully ripen and dry. After about a month, I collected the seed. Some of the pods had already begun to open (or dehisce) and scatter seeds, but not too much.

I cleaned the seeds and we now have 500 grams (about a pound, 16oz) of edamame seed.

In 2022 we didn’t have much to plant but I estimated that we would need ~2 oz per row. We planted two rows. Next season we could try planting three rows, planted 2 weeks apart. We have the 6 oz of seed stock it would take to do that.

The remaining seed is in the refrigerator, reserved as 2024 planting stock. In fall 2023, we can collect seed for 2025.