How to Harvest Pinto Beans

Overview

Growing your own pinto beans requires knowing when to harvest them. Unlike other varieties of beans, pintos mature completely on the vine and you must wait until both the pod and seed have dried, according to Purdue University. This requires an extended growing season with dry fall weather to produce the best crops. Should you live in an area that experiences rainy autumns, harvest the mature pinto plants early and continue to dry them indoors. Either way will yield your own pinto beans that can be stored for up to one year, according to Mother Earth News.

Step 1

Examine the plant for browned leaves and brittle pods three to four months after planting.

Step 2

Pull the completely dried pods from the bean plant.

Step 3

Harvest mature pinto beans before they completely dry on the plant if rain threatens to soak the drying pods. Cut a pinto bean plant to the ground if the pods turn yellow but do not dry completely. Use a small saw or machete to cut the plant down and leave the roots in the ground to return nitrogen to the soil. Tie a string around the base of the plant and hang it upside down in a dark and dry place until the pods completely dry.

Step 4

Spread the dried pinto bean pods in a single layer on a piece of tarp.

Step 5

Hit the pods with a wooden plank to split the pods.

Step 6

Separate the beans from the pods by hand, discarding the pods and transferring the beans to an airtight container for up to one year.

Things You'll Need

  • Small saw or machete
  • String
  • Tarp
  • Wooden plank
  • Airtight container

References

  • Mother Earth News: About Shell Beans--Harvesting
  • Purdue University: Growing Beans in a Home Vegetable Garden
  • Mother Earth News: About Shell Beans--Pinto Beans

Who Can Help

  • BBC: Growing, Harvesting and Using Shell Beans
  • National Gardening Association: Shelling and Harvesting Heirloom Beans
Keywords: harvest beans, pinto beans, dry beans

About this Author

Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.