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How Are Pinto Beans Grown & Where?

By Dale Devries ; Updated September 21, 2017

Preparing the Soil

Pinto beans will grow best in a well-draining soil. If your soil does not drain well, tilling in some compost will help. If the soil is heavy clay or very rocky, consider creating a raised bed for your garden. This type of bean does not do well in high alkaline soils or those with a high nitrogen or phosphorus. The plants will also suffer if the iron content is too low. The best way to find out whether your soil is balanced well for the growing of pinto beans is to take a sample to the local extension service and have the soil tested. The extension service will make recommendations as to what the soil needs in order to grow the best crop of beans.


Seeds should not be sown until the soil temperature has reached at least 60 degrees. Plant the seeds an inch deep, 3 inches apart. Enough room should be left between the rows to allow you to pull weeds or apply much without stepping on other plants. Water the soil well immediately after planting, and keep the soil moist but not soggy thereafter.

Weeds can quickly become a problem as they come up between the plants. Handpick the weeds until the seeds begin to sprout and you can see exactly where they are. Once the seedlings are a couple inches high, apply a layer of mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in the moisture.

Growing Pinto Beans

Germination should take between four and eight days. During this time, the soil should be warm, moist and free of weeds. Fertilization is not usually necessary, especially if the ground has been properly prepared. The growth stage will take place for 28 to 32 days after germination. Water the soil and not the foliage at this time. Provide a wind break in the form of taller vegetables or a screen if you live in a very windy area. Ventilation is important, but drying winds will damage the plants. Flowering will begin and the plants will require extra water as the pods start to form. This stage normally lasts for about two weeks. Once the pods are full, watering needs to be cut back to a minimum to allow the beans to dry. Usually, the rain will provide sufficient water and no additional watering will be needed at this time. Once the pods start to turn yellow, the beans should be harvested.

Where Pinto Beans Grow

Pinto beans originated in Peru and spread throughout South America. Used in many Mexican recipes, they made their way to North America as the Mexican people started to immigrate north. There are many varieties of Pinto beans and some take less time to grow than others. This gives opportunity to grow the beans in gardening zones 4 and warmer. These zones cover just about all of the United States and farther south. Contrary to the fact that pinto beans like warm, rather dry weather; the leading states that produce the beans are North Dakota, Nebraska and Michigan. Many other states grow them as well, and, for home production, you can grow them just about anywhere south of the Canadian border.

About Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are relatively inexpensive and have great nutritional value. They are very high in protein and fiber along with having very little fat content. They are also a good source of many minerals that your body needs to be healthy. Because many home growers do so in order to avoid pesticide and other chemically treated food, purchasing a top quality seed and preparing the soil properly is a must. Pinto beans are not a hard crop to grow, but they do need a little more care than other vegetables.