Soy Beans
Martha Maletta, Home Horticultural Consultant
Dated - June 14, 2004

Last month snap beans were featured in this space. For something a little different in the vegetable garden, try growing edamame (eh-dah-MAH-may), known variously as edible, garden, vegetable-type soybean. There are several readily available varieties, some of which have been tested for northern New Jersey at the Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm. In fact, there is a new Fact Sheet from Rutgers Cooperative Extension about to be published. Some of the suggested faster maturing varieties (75 to 80 days) are Early Hukucho, Beer Friend, Lucky Lion, Green Legend and Envy.

Edamame culture is similar to that of snap beans. They are best planted once soil has warmed up (usually by late May) and can benefit from a seed inoculant (Bradyrhizobium japonica) that is specific for soybeans. (Some seed may be sold with inoculant.) Plant 6 inches apart in single rows, and make one to two week succession plantings to lengthen the harvest since all pods on a plant mature at the same time. Yield should be about one pound of pods for 3-4 feet of row.

The seeds are at their best eating quality when the pods are dark green, the seeds are still green and the pod is almost but not completely filled out. Experience is probably the best instructor on when to harvest. Flavor is also best when pods are picked at the end of a sunny day. As with other crops like corn, peas and asparagus that begin to loose flavor and quality as soon as they are harvested, edemamae should be refrigerated, prepared and eaten ASAP after harvest, or processed for keeping.

For nutrition, serving and preserving information on edamame, watch for the RCE Fact Sheet, coming soon, to the RCE website:

Periodical cicadas have emerged, but where are they in Hunterdon County? Let RCE Hunterdon know about locations so we can notify Dr. George Hamilton, RCE Specialist in Pest Management, for purposes of mapping emergence sites in New Jersey. He is helping Dr. Chris Simon, U of Connecticut, a leading researcher on periodical cicadas, and has requested help from county RCE offices and local residents. Call the Master Gardener Helpline of Hunterdon County, 908-788-1735, to report sites.

You may have noticed that the “gnats”, which plagued Hunterdon County and several other NJ counties in years past, are back. The NJ control program that had been in place, a joint effort of NJ and PA in treating the Delaware River that is the most important source of these black flies, was discontinued last year when NJ funding was cut. Residents who experience a serious black fly problem can report it to the black fly survey info line at 908-788-1577 and should let their State legislators know about it, too.

Dr. David Drake will be talking about some larger pests on Friday, June 11, 10a.m.-12 noon at the Melda C. Snyder Teaching Garden of the Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm. Learn from the RCE Wildlife Specialist about “Managing Wildlife in the Home Landscape”. Please call 908-526-6293 if you plan to attend.

Saturday, June 12 will be Rose Day at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden in Colonial Park, East Millstone, NJ. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the collection of more than 3000 roses will be open, there will be a variety of lectures and rose experts will be available for questions. This event is free. Also at Colonial Park, on Saturday, June 19, 9 to 11 a.m. there will be a two-hour field study of “Summer Color in the Perennial Garden”, and a rose insect and disease workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 26, 9 to 11 a.m. Registration is $10.00 for each of these programs and space is limited. Call 732-873-2459 to register or for more details about either of these events.