Pinto Beans 101: How To Plant & Grow Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans 101: How To Plant & Grow Pinto Beans

Pintos Beans are a native of Mexico and take between 90 to 150 days to mature as dry beans, however they can be harvested early and consumed as green snap beans. They are available in bush and pole types. They require less maintenance than other bean varieties, but they do need greater room between plants. 

Due of their native subtropical climates, they are susceptible to cold. Long, warm summers with at least six hours per day of direct sun exposure are necessary for pintos. Because pinto beans could be prone to illness if planted in areas where other beans have been growing for at least three years, avoid doing so. 

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In general, transplanting beans does not work well, thus it is recommended to direct-sow the seeds. They should not be planted too early since they will rot in cool, wet soil. The growing process can be sped up by laying down black plastic to keep the soil warm because beans take a while to mature. 

Alternately, you could plant pinto beans indoors in containers that you'd later take outside as the weather warmed up. Cucumbers, celery, and strawberries all make good pinto bean companion plants. Avoid planting companion plants with fennel, fennel, and onion, even though they taste delicious together.

Growing Conditions For Pinto Beans

Light & Temperature

Pinto beans are relatively easy to grow, but there are a few things to keep in mind in terms of light and temperature requirements. Pinto beans need full sun in order to produce a good yield, so make sure to plant them in an area that receives direct sunlight for most of the day. In terms of temperature, pinto beans prefer warm weather and will not tolerate frost. They should be planted after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. 


Pinto beans need well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. They also prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. In terms of fertility, pinto beans need moderate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen is especially important during the early stages of growth, when the plants are developing their foliage. 


When growing pinto beans, it is important to water them regularly. The plants need about 1 inch of water per week, and the soil should be kept evenly moist. Water stress can cause the plants to produce smaller pods, so it is important to make sure that they are getting enough water. Pinto beans can be grown in most climates, but they need warm weather to thrive.

Nutrition & Fertilizer

While they are fairly easy to grow, pinto beans do require some specific nutrients in order to flourish. In particular, they need high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Although pinto beans can get some of these nutrients from the soil, they will likely need additional fertilizer in order to reach their full potential. 

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The best fertilizers for pinto beans contain a balance of all three nutrients. With proper care and nutrition, pinto beans can be a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.

How To Plant & Grow Pinto Beans

Pick a Bean Type

The first step in planting pinto beans is to choose the right type of bean. There are many different varieties of pinto beans, so it is important to select one that will grow well in your climate. If you are unsure which variety to choose, you can ask your local nursery for advice.

Preparing the Soil

Once you have chosen a bean variety, you will need to prepare the soil before planting. Pinto beans prefer well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. You can improve your soil by adding compost or manure to it before planting.

Planting the Beans

Once the soil is prepared, you can plant your beans. Pinto beans should be planted 1-2 inches deep and spaced 4-6 inches apart. If you are planting more than one row of beans, space the rows 18-24 inches apart.

Watering the Beans

Pinto beans need to be watered regularly in order to grow properly. Water the beans deeply once or twice a week, making sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Harvesting & Storing Pinto Beans

When the pods are dry, yellow to tan in color, and just beginning to break open, beans are ready to be harvested. Pick them up before the plant is able to produce seeds that fall to the ground. Plants that are stubborn can be pulled out and hung up to dry. Pick the pods and place them on a tarp or screen to complete drying for undetermined varieties.

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Beans can be threshed, or their dried pods crushed, by hand-opening them, stomping on them, or putting them in a tarp or pillowcase and trampling on them. Before storing, look for bugs and undesirable beans. Dried beans should be kept at a cold temperature in a tidy, airtight container.

Common Pinto Bean Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for the regular illnesses and pests that affect beans. Try interplanting or making a border with a trap crop like nasturtiums since pests can more easily find large areas of a single, desirable plant. 

Common pests that affect planted beans include the bean leaf beetle, whiteflies, and stinkbugs. Mold rust can also seriously harm the plants and lower yields. A foliar fungicide can be used to treat mold.


Pinto beans are a nutritious and versatile food that can be easily grown in a home garden. These beans are a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and they can be used in a variety of dishes. To plant pinto beans, choose a sunny spot in your garden and prepare the soil by loosening it with a spade or tiller. 

Sow the seeds about an inch deep and water them well. The beans will germinate in 7-10 days. Once they have sprouted, thin the plants so that they are about four inches apart. Pinto beans need to be watered regularly, especially during dry spells. Harvest the beans when the pods are plump and dry. 

To remove the beans from the pods, strip off the pods and then place them in a colander or strainer. Rinse the beans under cool water and then allow them to dry before cooking or storing them.

Pinto beans can be enjoyed boiled, baked, or mashed, and they make a delicious addition to soups, stews, salads, and casseroles. With a little care and patience, you can enjoy fresh pinto beans from your own garden all season long!

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