- 1). Prepare the planting bed three weeks after the last frost in spring when soil temperatures top 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Weed the bed thoroughly and remove any stones or debris from the soil. Spread a 4-inch-thick layer of mildly acidic compost over the bed. Work the compost into the soil to a depth of 6 inches using a rotary tiller or cultivating fork.
- 2). Smooth the surface of the bed using a hoe. Settle the soil by watering it with a garden hose for 10 or 15 minutes. Let the water drain away for a few minutes before sowing the soybean seeds.
- 3). Create planting rows of 1-inch-deep holes spaced 2 inches apart using a dibble. Space the rows 24 inches apart to provide the soybean plants with good air circulation and sun exposure.
- 4). Sow one soybean seed in each of the 1-inch-deep holes. Push soil in on top of the seed then pat the surface to anchor them.
- 5). Water the seeds in to a depth of 1 inch. Continue watering the soybeans to 1 inch whenever the bed feels dry below the surface. Avoid making the soil soggy since the seeds may germinate too quickly and become misshapen.
- 6). Watch for sprouts in seven to 10 days. Thin the seedlings to one every 6 inches once they grow a set of mature leaves. Remove the soybean sprouts with stunted growth or spindly stems.
- 7). Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of compost around the base of each soybean plant once the bottom set of leaves stands 4 inches off the ground to feed the plant and help keep the soil moist during hot weather.
- 8). Harvest fresh soybeans once they reach 2 to 3 inches in length and display a light-green coloration. Harvest soybeans for shelling in 45 days. Gather soybeans for drying in 100 days.
- 9). Work the soybean plants into the bed at the end of the season using a rotary tiller. Allow the plants to decompose and release nitrogen back into the soil. Leave the bed fallow the following year, then resume cultivation the year after.
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