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How to Grow Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans are an easy to grow bean. It is best known as a dried bean. But, did you know that Pinto Beans can also be used fresh or frozen? Of course you did!!!

Pinto Beans are oval shaped, medium sized beans. They are popular in Mexican cuisine. These beans are loaded with cholesterol-lowering fiber and nutrition. Pinto beans are a white bean, with red spots and swirling lines. They add bright, appealing color to recipes.

Days to Maturity:

Plan on a minimum of 102 days to harvest, as dried beans take longer to reach full maturity, and to dry inside of the bean pod prior to harvest.

Sowing Pinto Bean Seeds:

Plant pinto bean seeds outdoors after the last frost date for your area. Follow the spacing directions on the packet. Bean seeds are big, making them easy to space.

Tip: Soak seeds for 24 hours prior to planting, to aid in germination.

Water well after planting the seeds, and a second time to four days later, if there has been little or no rain. You can also side dress the rows with general purpose fertilizer.

Important: Do not plant beans or other legumes in the same location more than once every three years. Crop rotation is important for healthy plants, and a big harvest.

How to Grow Pinto Bean Plants:

Grow pinto bean plants in full sun. They prefer rich, well draining soil. The plants are heavy feeders. Add ample amounts of compost prior to planting. Apply a side dressing of fertilizer at planting time, to give these plants a fast start as soon as they germinate.

Ideal soil pH: 6.0 - 7.5   More on soil pH

Thin seedling to proper distance, as noted on the seed packet. Double rows are common in home gardens. When using double rows, leave enough room for the them to grow without the rows overcrowding each other. Overcrowding can encourage plant disease, especially in wet weather.

Fertilize every two to three weeks with a general purpose fertilizer like 5-10-5, or 5-10-10.

Pinto beans plants need a constant supply of water. Water as necessary, to keep the soil moist, not wet. Moisture extremes can result in malformed pods. Try to keep the leaves dry as you water. This will help avoid fungus diseases.

Keep plants well-weeded all season long. A layer of mulch will help to keep weeds down and maintain a more constant soil moisture level.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable

Harvesting Beans:

Harvest Pinto Bean seeds when the pods are completely dried out. Pull open a pod to see if the bean looks hard and dried.

Insects and Pests:

Most varieties of beans are susceptible to a variety of insects, most notably beetles. They can be effectively treated with Sevin, and a variety of other insecticides.

Bunnies love beans! Rabbits eat the tender new leaves. If there are rabbits in your area, a rabbit fence is not a nicety, it is a necessity. They will devastate a row of beans in a hurry, eating the tender new leaves. As new ones develop, they will come back for more.

More on  control of rabbits in the garden.

Deer love to nip leaves of beans. If deer are a problem in your area, they will be a problem with your runner beans.  Fencing or pest netting is the most effective control.

 More on how to control deer in gardens.


Bacterial and wilt diseases are common among the Bean family. This plant disease arrives with summer heat and humidity. This often occurs just before, or during, the ripening of the crop. Fungicides are recommended in areas of high heat and humidity.

Tip: Keep the leaves dry and allow more spacing between plants for better air circulation.

Plant Problems - Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems.


Beans are not a hardy plant. They are susceptible to cold and frost. Hold off planting until a few days before all danger of frost is past. In the fall, cover the crop on nights when the temperature is expected to go below 40 degrees.

More Information:

Three Bean Salad Recipe


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