Planting date influences grain soybean yield and quality, but no information is available regarding the responses of seed chemical compositions to delayed planting date in vegetable soybean [
Glycine max(L.) Merr.]. Three vegetable soybean cultivars, CAS No.1, Tai 292, and 121, were planted on 3 May, 15 May, 27 May, and 8 June in the field during the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with three replications on a typical Mollisol (black soil). We found that late planting reduced fresh pod yield in all cultivars and years. The reduction in fresh pod yield to delayed planting was significantly correlated with the reduction in the number of two-seed pods per plant. Cultivars with strong capacity in retaining more two-seed pods may possess an advantage if planting is delayed. Planting after 15 May increased seed protein content by 4.1% to 7.5% and reduced oil content by 2.4% to 26.3% for different cultivars. The contents of free amino acid, sum of fructose and glucose, raffinose, and stachyose in seed were also increased by late planting. By contrast, late planting reduced the seed sucrose content ranging from 7.6% to 45.5% for the different cultivars. Planting on 3 May usually produced the greatest fresh pod yield and highest seed sucrose content. These results demonstrated that late planting after early May might have a negative impact on the eating quality of vegetable soybean.