If you have eaten burritos, you might have eaten pinto beans likewise. This is because pinto beans are used as fillings for burritos. But what is a pinto bean? Well, the pinto bean is popular in northwestern Mexico and the United States. It is often consumed, whole or mashed, and then refried. Moreover, its young pods are usually harvested and cooked to create green pinto beans.
Pinto beans have different varieties that include “Hidatsa,” “Othello,” and “Burke.” They usually grow in warm subtropical regions. They also typically mature within 3 to 4 months. They can be very demanding. Yet, if you take care of them, you’ll get rewarded with a good yield of pinto beans. So, if you live in a subtropical region, you can readily expand your garden plants with the addition of pinto beans.
Nutritional Value of Pinto Beans
Aside from its exquisite taste, the pinto bean is also rich in essential micronutrients. It is rich in vitamin B1 and high in dietary folate and fiber. It also carries amino acids. Moreover, it contains trace minerals like phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, and iron. So, it is good to have a ready supply of pinto beans from your backyard garden because it is nutritious.
Basic Requirements for Growing Pinto Beans
Pinto beans come in two varieties, namely: bush (determinate) and pole (indeterminate). Bush pinto beans need little care. You just need to space them right in your garden for them to grow bushier. On the other hand, you can plant the pole beans closer to each other. You simply need to provide them with trellis for supports.
Pinto beans may take 90 to 150 days to mature. Yet, you can harvest them earlier and consume their beans as green snap beans. They also need around 6 hours of sunlight.
Pinto beans also like fast-draining loose soil. Plus, they thrive in temperatures of 70 °F (20°C). Moreover, they grow well in soil with a pH balance of 6.0 to 7.0.
Stages in Planting Pinto Beans
The cultivation of pinto beans can be subdivided into three stages, namely: the preparation stage, the sowing stage, and the nourishing stage. Here is a short description of each stage:
Stage 1: The Preparation Stage
Timing is essential to the success of cultivating pinto beans. You should time the planting after the last frost is gone.
1) Select the garden site for planting.
The place should have good hours of sunlight daily. You should also ensure that no legumes have been planted in that soil for the past three years.
2) Then, amend the soil.
You must turn the soil into a well-draining, loose, and fertile soil. Mix some mature compost with the soil. Make sure that the soil has a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Make sure also that the compost reaches the depth of 6 inches.
3) Select the bean type!
You should select between bush and pole type. Bush beans are easier to cultivate. They also produce less yield. Pole, on the other hand, requires you to make a stake or trellis. Yet, they produce more.
4) Then, prepare the beans by soaking them.
Prepare a shallow dish with water. Then, place the beans into the dish and let them soak overnight. You should do this in the evening before you plant them. This is to prepare them for germination.
5) If you choose the pole variety, then prepare the support system beforehand.
The support system should be at least 5 to 7 feet high. The support should have a rough texture to facilitate the climbing of the vines.
Stage 2: Planting the Seeds
Take note that pinto beans don’t like being transplanted. Hence, you should plant them as seeds instead of growing them for a while indoors, then transferring them outdoors.
1) Space the holes!
When planting, make sure you space the holes at least 3-inches apart. The holes should be up to 2 inches deep.
2) Then, sow the seeds!
Just drop a seed in each hole. Its eye should be facing downward. You should cover the seeds with light and loose soil. If the soil is heavy, then cover the seeds with a lighter mixture of soil.
3) Water the newly sown seeds!
You don’t have to drench the seeds with water. Make sure, however, that the soil is moist enough for the seeds to germinate — Water the seeds right after planting.
4) Thin the seedlings out!
Once the seedlings have already established themselves, you should thin them out. Leave at least 6 inches between them. If you’re planting bush beans, you should provide enough space between each plant. Pinto bean seeds will usually take 14 days or less to germinate.
Stage 3: Caring for Your Pinto Bean Plants
Pinto beans need enough care to grow healthy. Yet, when nourished, they return the favor by becoming prolific. Here are some caring tips for your pinto beans:
1) You should water them sparingly!
Pinto beans do not like soggy soil. Their roots rot away if this happens. So, you should water them sparingly. Water them at their base. Don’t soak the leaves with water to prevent the onset of mildew and other diseases. You should also water them early in the morning. This will allow the soil to dry fast. You should nurture them with at least an inch of water every week.
2) Minimize the onset of weeds by applying mulch!
Mulch can keep warm the soil. It can also help in preventing the growth of weeds. Moreover, it can help prevent the rotting of pods. It also helps retain moisture in the soil. You can use black plastic mulch or weathered straw for this purpose. You can also use shredded bark or untreated lawn clippings. Plus, you should add at least two to three inches of mulch.
3) Apply fertilizer once!
Halfway through its growing season, the pinto bean will be needing fertilizer. You can apply fertilizer once. Pinto bean has an uncanny way of having its nitrogen supply. So, you should at least avoid giving your pinto beans fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. Instead, choose a fertilizer that is rich in potassium and phosphorus.
4) You should train the vines to grow vertically!
This is important if you have chosen pole beans. During the first few weeks, you need to train the vines in vertical growth. You can do this by tying the vines to the trellis or support system. Use a soft cloth or twine to do this. Don’t stretch the vines; they won’t break. After several weeks, the vines will be on their own in growing upward.
5) Lastly, you should always be on a lookout for diseases and pests.
Remember that pinto beans are susceptible to fungal diseases. Pests like aphids, beetles, and leafhoppers can feed on their leaves. So, you should always be vigilant not to let the onset of disease or the attack of pests to happen. Pick the pests off by your hand. You can also spray them off using a garden hose.
How To Harvest Pinto Beans
When the pinto beans are already 90 to 150 days old, you can then start harvesting them. If you have opted for bush bean type, you’ll notice that they mature all at once. Hence, you’ll only have a single harvest. Pole beans, on the other hand, can be harvested regularly to encourage production. You can harvest them while they are not yet fully mature or still green. But it is better to harvest them when they dry.
You should shell the pinto bean pods by hand. You can do this in batches. You can shell the pods by putting them inside an old pillowcase. Then, tie the loose end of the pillowcase. Afterward, you should stamp or walk on the pillowcase for a minute or two. Your feet will surely crush the pods open. Afterward, you can remove the chaff.
It is advisable to freeze the beans for a couple of hours before you store them. This will prevent any problem with pests like weevils. Afterward, you can put them in airtight jars and store them in a cool location. If you store them right, you can expect them to last for a year.