Increasing Fresh Virginia-Grown Edamame Supply through Season Extension Techniques

2013 Annual Report for GS12-118

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2012: $10,731.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Virginia State University
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Maru Kering
Virginia State University
Major Professor:
Dr. Bo Zhang
Virginia State University

Increasing Fresh Virginia-Grown Edamame Supply through Season Extension Techniques


Virginia agribusinesses have experienced economic hardship following the mandate to end the federal tobacco price support program. Vegetable soybean “Edamame” as a cash crop is an ideal substitute because it can be grown as a commodity crop (grain-type soybean) but is marketed as a high value vegetable. Domestic demand for Edamame has increased due to its health attributes and changing population demographics. The US Edamame market relies on imported material whose quality quickly deteriorates in cold storage. Local fresh supply lasts only a few days as a result of short harvest window. There is a need to extend harvesting window, but there is limited information on season extension strategies for extending edamame production in Virginia.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objectives of this project are to increase fresh Virginia-grown edamame supply up to half a year by building up an off-season production systems; and to identify edamame varieties that optimize yield in multiple growing seasons.

To meet these objectives, four released edamame varieties of different maturity groups are planted. The varieties are;Randolph, Moon cake, Gardensoy 31 and Gardensoy 41. They are sown in the greenhouse and transplanted into high tunnels in early spring. It is also directly planted in the field in late spring and summer months. For fall harvest, crop is grown in the high tunnel in late summer. Total marketable yield and seed quality traits including protein, oil and sucrose content of each cultivar is determined after each harvest. 


Although differences were observed among varieties, the crop establishment was successfull during all planting periods. In 2013 we obtained marketable pods of different Edamame varieties and extended the harvest window beyond the normally 2-3 week period. We also observed potential yield differences among Edamame varieties for different planting time periods.

The varieties plannted was a good combination to obtain succesive pod harvest and to extend harvest window and may help producers increase their overall annual yields. Analysis is on-going on seed quality including sugar, protein and oil content.  

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Despite the low yield, it is possible to plant the crop in the high tunnel in easly pring and late summer and be able to obtain some marketable material in the summer and fall months, respectively.


Shawntae Nolen
MS student
MT Carter
Petersburg, VA 23806
Office Phone: 8046912771
Dr. Bo Zhang
Assistant Professor
203 MT Carter
Petersburg, VA 23806
Office Phone: 8045245953