Pinto Beans

Quick Reference

Type of Harvest: continual or single harvest

Transplant/Direct Sow: Direct sow or transplant if you are careful.

When to Plant: Direct sow seeds around the last average frost date or when the soil temperature is 50°F.

Days to Germinate: 8-14 days - less time if you soak the beans.

Days to Maturity: 90-150 days - different varieties are faster to mature than are others.

Planting Depth: 1.5-2” deep

Germination Temp: when soil temperatures are 50°F.

Seed Spacing: Plant in rows seeds every 2-3". Thin to one plant ever 16-24".

Row Spacing: 12-18" apart

Light: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.0-7.0 pH

Water: 1 1/2-2” of water per week.

Soil Temperature: Minimum 50°F. The seedlings like cooler weather but once they are mature, they will handle summer

Fertilizer: generally not needed as beans fix nitrogen. You can top dress plants if they look pale with a nitrogen heavy fertilizer 15-0-0 if needed.

Rotation: Rotate yearly to avoid soil borne disease and plant beans in places where heavy feeders have been. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil and make their own fertilizer.


Harvest Type
Pinto Beans can be a continuous harvest or a single harvest. You can pick the beans when green like you would bush beans, or you can allow the pods to dry on the plant and harvest them as dried beans.

Transplant / Direct Sow
It is better to direct sow beans as they do not like being transplanted. However, you can transplant them if you do not disturb the roots. Direct sow bean plants around your average last frost date. Start seeds indoors 4-5 weeks before your average last frost date if you live in a short growing season zone.

Full Sun

When to Plant:
Transplant or direct sow seeds when the soil temperature is 50-60°F. .

Days to germinate
It takes most pinto bean seeds 8-14 days to sprout, but in a warm location they can sprout in 7-10 days.

Days to maturity
It takes about 90-150 days depending on the pinto bean variety you grow.

Planting Depth
Plant seeds 1 1/2-2" deep.

Germination Temperature Range
Germination is best when the soil is 50-60°F or warmer.

Spacing Between Plants
Pinto bean plants need 16-24" of space between plants. Rows can vary from 12-18 inches apart.

Companion Plants
Cucumbers and strawberries are excellent companion plants for Pinto beans. You can also interplant pinto beans with short-term crops such as lettuce and radish.

Growing conditions
Start with good, well-draining soil—water with 1 1/2-2" of water per week, keeping the ground evenly moist. Try to water the plant roots rather than the leaves to avoid powdery mildew and sunburning. Plant in full sun, though in hotter areas the bean plants will appreciate some afternoon shade.

Tip: Pinto beans are a long harvest crop. Pair them with taller crops, such as cucumbers which will also help to protect them from the sun in the afternoon.

To prevent soil borne disease rotate crops every year. Pinto Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, so rotate their planting to places where heavy feeding plants have grown.

Anticipated yields
Plan your garden yield at 8-12 Pinto bean plants per person. Expect 1-2 pounds of beans per plant. If you plant too many plants, the beans store for years dried.

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