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How to grow pinto beans

Updated February 21, 2017

Pinto beans, used as the main ingredient in refried beans for burritos and other Mexican foods, can be eaten as green beans if they are harvested young or as a dried bean. They can be grown successfully in the home garden. Called "frijol pinto" in Spanish, the name translates to painted bean describing its mottle appearance. According to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, dried beans are a nearly perfect food because of their high fibre and protein content, making pinto beans an excellent source of nutrition.

Plant pinto beans to a depth of 1 ½ to 2 inches in prepared soil after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to 10 degrees C. Avoid the temptation to plant beans in cool wet soil, as they will likely rot before germinating.

Space beans 4 inches apart in rows spaced at 24 to 36 inches. This allows for good cultivation and increases aeration reducing the risk of disease.

Side dress with 5-10-10 fertiliser, when beans are 4 to 6 inches high. Work the fertiliser into the soil with a garden hoe being careful not to disturb young roots.

Cultivate between the rows with a garden tiller or hand tiller every two weeks to prevent soil from compacting and to prevent weed growth.

Remove weeds on a regular basis. Weeds rob plants of valuable nutrients and moisture if allowed to grow. Pull young weeds by hand or use a hoe to cut larger weeds. Use care not to disturb roots in the process.

Water sparingly. Beans do not like wet soil and grow best in soil that dries between waterings. They may need additional water during the hottest part of summer.

Pick when young beans are 3 to 4 inches long for fresh green beans or allow to mature on the vine for dried beans.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tools
  • Pinto bean seeds
  • 5-10-10 Fertilizer
  • Garden/hand tiller
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About the Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.