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Connecticut Garden Journal: Edamame is buttery, delicious and easy to grow

Edamame bean with salt in bowl.
Thomas Gasienica
You can buy frozen edamame at grocery stores, but the flavor of fresh edamame is better.

If you've ever been to a Japanese restaurant, chances are you've seen or eaten edamame. Edamame is a selection of soybeans that are harvested young when the green seeds fill out the pod similar to peas. You eat the seeds and the flavor is buttery and delicious. You can buy frozen edamame at grocery stores, but the flavor of fresh edamame is better.

If you can grow bush beans, you can grow edamame. Edamame thrives in warm soil so now is a great time to plant. We grow ours on a raised beds amended with compost. Edamame is a legume so it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere into a food it can use. The soil should be well drained and loose since cold, heavy soils can cause the seeds to rot.

'Envy' is a quick maturing variety, but my go to variety is 'Midori Giant'. This variety has large pods with 3 seeds per pod. Space plants about 4- to 6-inches apart. Watch for slugs when the plants are young. Control them by hand picking the mollusks or spreading an organic bait that contains iron phosphate.

Harvest when the pods fill out and are plump, but before the pods turn yellow. We often just steam the pods in salty water and eat them as a snack. But they're also great cooked with other vegetables, in potato salads, and as a topping on summer salads.

We companion plant kale between our edamame rows, so that once the edamame is harvested we chop down the plants and leave them as mulch around the kale. The kale thrives as a fall veggie.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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