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About Pinto Bean: The pinto bean has its roots in South America; some historians fix the date as far back as 8,000 BC to the Pre-Incan civilization in Peru. People from this time valued dry beans because of their long lasting freshness in storage. Pinto beans contain the highest amount of fiber of any bean, and are the top choice for Mexican dishes such as refried beans and chile con carne.

Pinto Bean Germination: Direct sow seeds in rich, well drained soil in full sun at least a week after the last expected frost, since beans are quite sensitive to cold. If you have never planted beans in your garden before, treat the seeds with a powder inoculant to allow the process of nitrogen fixation to begin. Plant them 1" deep and 3-6" apart, in rows about 2' apart; press down the earth above them for good soil contact. These seeds rot easily in wet soil, so do not over water them. Germination should take place 7-10 days after planting. For companion planting benefits, plant beans near carrots or beets; avoid planting them near onions.

Growing Pinto Bean Seeds: After germination, maintain soil moisture; beans have shallow roots, and need water at least once a week if the weather is dry. Mulching the plants helps conserve moisture and discourages weeds.

Harvesting Pinto Bean: If frost or inclement weather threatens before your beans are fully dry, pull them and allow them to continue drying under shelter. A good method for drying is to hang them upside down from their roots until the seeds rattle in the pods and are very hard. They should be completely dry 10-15 days later. Remove the seeds from the pods by hand, or thresh them by putting them in a bag and applying a heavy weight.

Saving Pinto Bean Seeds: Thresh the beans by removing them from their pods. Store them in a dry, cool place; for best germination, use them in the next growing season.

Detailed Pinto Bean Info: Phaseolus vulgaris. Annual. 90 days. 100 seeds per oz. 18-24" height. 3-6" spacing. These beans are beige with reddish brown splotches, and grow in flat green pods 3-4" long.

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