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Soybeans; Bush vs. Climbing

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by Pulsegleaner, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. Apr 23, 2019
    Pulsegleaner

    Pulsegleaner Deeply Rooted

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    Hi All,

    Now that my soybeans are in (and I have time to do things like research) I have come upon a question I was wondering if anyone out there could answer; why does it seem that ALL food grade soybeans are bush type?

    As with most of my questions this one has a little baggage behind it. I HAVE seen food soybeans that are climbing/pole. When I plant the smaller type of black skinned soybean that is buy-able in Chinatown* sometimes some* of them climb (or since I am not using any support system, run along the ground.)

    However, when I go to research climbing type soybeans online, all I seem to find is ones designated as "forage types" (which seem to be soys designed to be grown for deer and turkey to browse on to fatten them for hunting.)

    So does anyone know of any climbing types that are grown for food. I would imagine that, under certain circumstances, a climbing soy would be advantageous.

    * There are two primary types available, a large seeded one with dull black skins and a smaller one with shiny, slightly silvery skins

    * compared to commercial white skinned soy, commercial black skinned soy tends to be a lot more diverse. Yellow and green cotyledons are often found in the same material. And the smaller one also has a great diversity in flower size and color (plus of course the bush pole thing.)
     
  2. Apr 23, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    My guess is that bush beans of all kinds can be harvested by machines, pole varieties cannot. Does this make sense from what you are seeing?
     
  3. Apr 23, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i haven't done much research on soy beans. :( i can only guess that much of the influence on size and habit of the plants is a breeding plan to fit the industrial farming machinery and the desire for high protein content or high oil content.

    i did grow several types of soybeans for making soy milk and found out that the ones grown in the field next to us were ok for making soymilk but i had much better flavor and results from beans grown from seeds bought from a health food store.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2019
    Pulsegleaner

    Pulsegleaner Deeply Rooted

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    I suppose it does, though of course the question of why the climbing black ones are there in the first place. Maybe in China they are more used to dealing with harvesting beans that have become a scrambling mess (after all for a lot of the smaller ones they really don't have a choice.

    I suppose it could also be a linked trait thing. WILD soybean (G. soja) is a vine so vining may be linked to other primitive traits like small seeds and shattering pods.

    That could be too. They've basically bred green cots out of the white skinned population in their desire for snow white tofu. I suspect that the only reason green is still so prevalent in the black and colored skinned soybeans is that 1. You can't SEE the green cots until the skin is removed and 2. Most of those are destined for things like black bean sauce, where everything will turn brown anyway.


    I used to have a type that was excellent for soymilk, if you didn't mind the milk was green.
     
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  5. Apr 23, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i think you have it right in that the climbing version is the more wild strain - after all in nature they'd have to compete with other plants so climbing is a useful trait and it would be selected for if there is any habitat suitable for growing plants. the same with shattering (scattering seeds around more easily).

    i'm not sure where or how black seeds would be as important, but the color of the flowers may be the issue there but i've not seen black seeded beans in flower so i'm not sure what those colors are. in the more general bean population here any black seeded beans are usually pretty purple flowers.
     
  6. Apr 23, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    @Pulsegleaner
    "I used to have a type that was excellent for soymilk, if you didn't mind the milk was green."

    i usually don't mind if something doesn't look perfect so that would not have put me off as long as the taste was fine. a light green tofu would probably be appealing to some, but perhaps it doesn't store well or cook well or something?

    hmm, thinking of color combinations green and red makes brown so if you were to have a red sauce the dish would look brown - which may not be very appealing to most people (i'd be fine, just add more sauce :) )...
     
  7. Apr 23, 2019
    Pulsegleaner

    Pulsegleaner Deeply Rooted

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    They can be white, lavender or bicolor.

    the soymilk color wasn't unpleasant; it looked a lot like melted green tea ice cream.
     
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  8. Apr 23, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    no yellow flowers? it seems i recall that the soybeans i've grown (admittedly never any of the dark seeded kind) have all had yellow to white flowers.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2019
    Zeedman

    Zeedman Deeply Rooted

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    Late to this discussion, I've been offline for awhile. I tend to agree that any time a vegetable becomes designated "food grade", it usually has a bush growth habit, since that is best handled by large-scale agricultural machinery. Soybeans are not only food grade, they are a commodity... so yeah, large scale.

    There are tall soybeans; and while I've grown a few that were 4-5' tall, most of the taller ones I looked at required a longer season than mine. I have observed weak twining in some varieties, but nothing that I would categorize as "climbing". There are indeterminate types, though, so who knows.

    Perhaps true. I grow a couple of small-seeded, semi-wild cultivars; one black-seeded, one brown. The plants, while fairly diminutive, branch heavily & intertwine... they remind me of the mat-forming tepary beans I grew one year. Tiny pods & seeds, but lots of them.

    Have you ever browsed the GRIN soybean archive? They have quite a few tall accessions, including 38 cultivars which are over 7'. Much to my surprise, glancing at the list, a few of those appear to be commercial cultivars. I checked a few of the cultivars on the list, they were all in the higher maturity groups.
     
  10. May 4, 2019
    Pulsegleaner

    Pulsegleaner Deeply Rooted

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    A thread elsewhere gave me insight on this issue. It occurred to be that, by an large people tend to choose bush when it is an option for ALL field legumes. Soy is bush, chickpeas are bush (though there I don't think there is a climbing version). And most industrial common dry beans are bush too. In fact I suspect that the continued existence and commonness of the pole bean has a lot to do with the Three Sisters turned around. You use pole beans to twine around the corn, but the fact the corn can be twined around is why pole beans are viable as an option. I suspect that, if corn was as small and lightweight as wheat or another minor grain, nearly all of the Native American bean varietals would be bush types.

    It would be interesting to compare this with other legumes grown for food where you can get either or results (I know rice beans have a bush form (and therefore assume azuki's mungs, urds and mothes have as well) but pole is the choice there (maybe they are used to mass harvest)

    Lablabs are another one with both, but where pole has the advantage (maybe there are a lot of trees around to climb on, or they use the sorghum stalks.)
     

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