Last week, we saw the progress of southwestern Indiana’s corn fields. This week, we’ll take another look at the soybean fields around here!
We saw both of these soybean fields about a month ago. They have come a long way since then! The soybean plants in the first field we saw are taller than my knees now!
The leaves had been just about the size of my fingers. They have grown since then, but the plant has been concentrating on getting taller, growing more leaves (instead of bigger leaves), putting on flowers, and starting to make soybeans in the last few weeks.
Here are two soybean pods. They have a lot of growing to do before they are ready to harvest, but they are well on their way! If you look closely at the pod on the left, you can see the outline of three soybeans inside.
One plant can grow lots of soybean pods. (This is similar to the green bean plants you may be growing in your garden right now.) There are at least 11 soybean pods growing on just this plant!
The undersides of the leaves, the stems, and even the soybean pods have lots of little fuzzy hairs on them (we saw these last time, too). These hairs act as a natural insect repellant for some bugs. It is harder for the bugs to get to the yummy green parts of the plant if the hairs are in the way. This doesn’t work on all insects, but it does give the plant a great head start.
This is the double-cropped soybean field we saw last time. (Double-crop means that one crop was grown on this field in the early spring – wheat, in this case. When the first crop was harvested, the second crop – soybeans – was planted.)
The leaves on these plants are about the same size as the leaves in the first field were a month ago.
The plants in this field have been flowering. Some of the flowers are already past, and are starting to form little soybean pods. The plants in this field will continue to grow a little bit, but most of the plants’ energy will go into making soybeans for the rest of the growing season.
What are you seeing in the fields around your home?