How to Plant and Grow Pinto Beans

What You'll Need
Standard garden tools (shovel, hoe, trowel, rake)
Motorized tiller or hand tiller
Pinto bean seeds
Trellis or posts and wire mesh (optional)

Pinto beans are a green bean that has been allowed to mature and been dried. They are one of the easiest beans to grow, and can be started from dried pinto beans like you would buy in a store. They prefer dry conditions and are tolerant of heat. The beans are amazingly nutritious, having a very high fiber and protein content, and make a great addition to any garden. 

Following the steps below will ensure you have a bountiful pinto bean crop every season.

For Soils With Heavy Clay Content

  • Compost
  • Gypsum
  • Coarse sand or pea gravel

Step 1 - Prepare Your Garden

Find an ideal spot to plant your pinto beans. They will need plenty of sun, and soil with good drainage. If your soil has poor drainage, you can add compost and gypsum to the soil to improve drainage. This will also attract worms which act as natural aerators for soil. If your soil has a high clay content, you will need to add compost, gypsum, and possibly coarse grained sand or pea gravel. After the last frost, till up the area in you garden you intend to use. You will need to determine how many plants you want to have, and allow six inches between plants and 2 to 2 1/2 feet between rows.

Step 2 - Plant Your Seeds

Plant seeds at six inch intervals, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches deep. Cover the seeds gently with soil. When the seeds are planted, water the area well. During the growing stages, the ground should be allowed to dry out between watering's. If the seeds stay too wet, they run the risk of becoming diseased.

Step 3 - Nurture the Plants

When the pinto beans are almost 6 inches tall, work some fertilizer into the ground along both sides of the row. Be careful of the roots. Pull out any weeds that remain after adding the fertilizer. When your beans get a little taller, it is good to give them something to climb. This can be accomplished using a trellis, lattice, or a mesh fence running the length of the row. Pound a wooded stake into the ground at each end of the row and attach the wire mesh. The plants will still produce without having something to climb, but not as much as they will when they can grow to their full size.

Step 4 - Harvest Your Pinto Beans

You should have a crop that is ready for harvesting at any stage in the pod growth, as long as you can see that the pods contain beans. You may have to experiment with the beans to determine your preferred stage of ripeness. If the seeds begin to bulge inside the pod, they are probably too mature.

Step 5 - Prepare Your Beans

After picking the beans, give them a good rinsing. You will need to de-string the beans before cooking them. Snap off one end of the pod and pull the string down the seam. The beans can be cooked by themselves or added to other foods.