How to Grow & Harvest Pinto Beans


Pinto beans are a versatile legume and a staple of Mexican cuisine. These nutritious beans are high in fiber and protein and quite easy to grow in a home garden. Simply plant your pinto beans in early spring, when the soil has reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They require only periodic maintenance and watering, and they are ready to harvest in as little as three months.

Step 1

Use a thermometer to test the soil's temperature every morning at 8. Record the daily temperature. When the three-day average is above 50 degrees, it is time to prepare the soil.

Step 2

Hand or roto-till the soil to a depth of 4 inches.

Step 3

Spread a 2-inch layer of organic compost over the soil.

Step 4

Till the soil again, to a depth of 4 inches.

Step 5

Smooth the soil over with a rake.

Step 6

Plant pinto beans 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart in rows that are at least 2 feet apart.

Step 7

Provide the pinto beans with 1 inch of water per week applied in early morning

Step 8

Loosen the soil between the rows with a hand tiller once every two weeks and remove any sprouting weeds by hand.

Step 9

When the pinto beans reach 4 inches in height, fertilize them with a 5-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 1 cup per 50 feet of row and dig it in to a depth of 6 inches.

Step 10

Harvest any pinto beans that you plan to eat fresh when the pods are 3 to 4 inches long.

Step 11

Harvest any pinto beans that you plan to dry after they have dried on the vine.

Step 12

Open the pods and remove the beans.

Step 13

Freeze the beans for four hours to kill any bugs or larvae that may be in the crop.

Step 14

Store or eat green pinto beans immediately. Store dry beans in an airtight container until you're ready to eat them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not grow pinto beans in the same spot two years in a row.

Things You'll Need

  • Pinto beans
  • Rake
  • Hand or roto-tiller


  • Jefferson Institute: Growing Dry Edible Beans
  • Purdue University: Growing Beans in the Home Vegetable Garden
Keywords: garden pinto beans, grow pinto beans, harvest pinto beans

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.