today’s sowing list: sunflowers and soybeans

Starting Seeds

Normally I would direct seed sunflowers and soybeans, but because of my voracious chipmunk, I am sowing them at home in trays and will transplant.

Tahumara white (Sand Hill)
Ling’s Grey Stripe (Johnny’s)
Elf’s blend (Botanical Interests)

Butterbeans (Johnny’s)
Envy (Johnny’s)

My soybeans that I planted 2 weeks ago had a germination rate of about 3/30 – bad. Today I remembered that I specifically bought the soybean inoculant and I forgot to use it. Today I added it to the soil as I sowed. I also went ahead and planted 3-4 seeds per cell. I hope to get a good crop.

I mostly eat soybeans as edamame (as an appetizer with salt and directly from the pod). I find that home grown are so much better than store bought – even if they’re frozen. The best varieties of soybeans are developed by commercial growers to ripen all at once. So sometime in mid August, I look forward to a week of lots of fresh-from-the-garden edamame, then for a month or so, I have fresh frozen. Then … its back to the store again …

The sunflowers are an experiment. Sunflowers don’t transplant well. I’ve killed them several times trying to move volunteers. But I’ve also bought potted plants and they transplanted fine. I wanted to use peat pots, but didn’t have any left. So I used regular plastic seed cells. I’ll be try to be careful to not disturb the roots when transplanting.

13 Comments. Leave new

  • It's my first year growing edamame but I'm a big fan of eating them! I sowed Sweet Sansei and had a 100% germination rate. I hear Envy tastes good. I will have to experiment with different types next year.

  • When I planted edamame last year I had trouble with germination also. So, I planted a second batch a few weeks later when it was much warmer and had much better luck. Maybe you should try a heating pad underneath to really warm up the soil? Just an idea!! Good Luck:)

  • regarding peat pots: newsprint makes super little pots (shape them around something like a spice jar), and you can either plant still in the newsprint pots (taking care to bury or remove any rim from above the soil) or unpeel the pot first. i find the peat pots expensive, a pain to store, and not that effective at permitting roots to permeate.

    final thing: i'm having great luck with myccorhizome treatment when i start or transplant seedlings (i got mine from territorial, but everyone's carrying it now; you can definitely see a difference when it comes time to plant. maybe that would help beef up the sunflower transplantation.


  • I too make newspaper pots, but I make the square ones. There are several videos if you do a google search, for origami pots. I know I was challenged by the written description on how to fold them, but once I saw the video no problem. I staple the end flaps down but take out the staples before I plant them. You can very the size of the pots by the size of the paper, for example I made large 5 inch square ones to up pot my tomatoes with packing paper. Worked great.

  • My problem with sunflowers is when they are 12 feet tall and the squirrels eat the flower heads right off! I'm still trying nonetheless.

  • That happens to mine at home, so I don't bother to grow then there. Its really annoying. The squirrels are big and will pull the whole plant down. In my community plot we only have chipmunks, no squirrels. They don't seem to find the sunflowers as fast. (Too busy eating beans and others.)

  • Hello Kathy,
    This year for the first time I'm growing Sunflower, I didn't get 100% germination.

    Thanks Debbie for the information about newspaper pots.

  • Is it not too late to plant soybeans?
    I've got some space in the garden (previous kale, but it has started flowering), and I'm looking for something to plant.

  • Soybean innoculants are used to provided the bacteria needed in the soil for the soybean to "fix" nitrogen from the air. Actually the bacteria infest soybean roots and "steal" nutrients from the soybean but provide Nitrogen in return. This is a beneficial symbiotic relationship so its a win win.

    Germination is not affected by the innoculant. If it was cold or damp and cold soon after planting this could cause poor germination. Otherwise probably seed source related.

    IA Agronomist

  • In Japan,Edamame is most popular appetizer when we drink beer.
    I guess many Edamame-lovers sprinkle salt on boiled soybeans.

  • I love salt on my edamame too. Yum.

    Thanks for the inoculant explanation! It has been chilly. I tried planing another set of trays a couple days ago from the same seed, but I'm afraid the weather is still cool. We'll see.

  • I am growing edemame, here in PA. and they are about 12 inches high. Can you update us with some pictures of your plants, and what to expect?

  • Kathy,

    Please come back to us! I check your blog every day to see updates for growing vegetables, flowers and natural observations in my area. When you are absent, I feel like we are missing something.


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