No edamame for me

I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard for so little reward in the vegetable garden than I did this season with edamame (immature soybeans).
I love these nutty little beans for snacking and in salads, and usually pick up a bag or two in the frozen food section whenever we visit J-Town. I’ve had varied luck finding the beans in the shell (the only way I’ll buy them) at grocery stores. I’ve never seen them fresh locally. So, naturally, I thought, why not grow my own.
I was so excited to find a Canadian source for seeds, McFayden Seed Company, and thrilled that the company was able to fill my order not once but twice (I’ll get to that) this spring despite losing time and stock to the severe flooding in Manitoba.

Edamame seeds ready for (the first) planting.

The beans from first package I planted without soaking or treating, dry in the ground, like I do bush beans. When only a few sprouts appeared, I did a little digging around. The well-spaced holes in the soil were a dead giveaway — some critter also enjoyed snacking on edamame.
But I persevered. I ordered a second package and sprouted the seeds on damp paper towel before planting. Within a few days, I had shoots. A few days later, I had stubs.
I applied a mixture of dish soap, cayenne, garlic, onion and water, which works to deter rabbits from eating the Swiss chard. But, to paraphrase a lament I read on another website, edamame is like candy to rodents.
In the end, the only plants to (barely) survive were the ones planted very close to the green beans, which must have somehow masked their scent. And they were stunted — probably because they were practically smothered by the bean plants. Perhaps next year I will try alternating edamame and bean plants to see if that will fool the critters — if I think I can handle the heartbreak.
Has anyone out there had success growing edamame in their garden? What is your secret?

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