More on the common Phaseolus

Growing Pinto beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris)

Hello and welcome to the common phaseolus blog!

To germinate the bean:

If you want to germinate the beans before planting, you can use the school style germination. Place the beans in a cup or other container that has cotton or a paper towel, this helps keep moisture for the beans to absorb.

Another method in to moist a paper towel, put the beans and fold it so that it covers them completely. Make sure there's enough water to keep them damp but no excess water is left (lift it and let the extra water drain without squeezing).

In both cases, place in a warm spot but don't let it get too hot or the beans may just cook instead of sprout. A temperature above 60f is best, and don't let it get much higher than 85f. If cold is an issue in your area, you can cover the beans in plastic to conserve the heat, leave an opening so there's air circulation or they will rot.

If temperature and moisture levels are right, they should start germinating in two to three days.


The plant starts it's fast growth period as soon as the second set of leaves appears. This stage last from when the stem straightens after coming out of the ground until flowering starts, lasting about 30 days.

Beans are legumes, plants that have the ability to fix their own nitrogen, so fertilizing is not that necessary, maybe using a low nitrogen mix to make sure the plant has enough nutrients to flower and set pods. Make sure not to get the fertilizer on the leaves and use a diluted mix, as the roots are susceptible to fertilizer burn.

Depending on the kind of bean that you have, you may get a bush plant or a vine. Bush type beans don't need any extra support as they get in their final shape on their own. Vine plants need a support and need to be trained to climb it so they get in a shape that will allow them to set pods and not rot.

Flowering and harvest:
Flowering starts about 30 to 40 days after germination, and lasts from 30 to 50 days from first flowers to last mature pods, after that time the plant wilts and dies, no matter what you do it's life cycle ends at that point.

To ensure good pollination on flowering, make sure that the plants have access to a little wind and that insects have access to the plants, just make sure they are pollinating flowers and not eating the plant.

Bad pollination makes for unfilled and few pods, as well as few seeds at harvest time. Make sure to apply some fertilizer when flowering starts to make sure the plant has the nutrients necessary for flowering and eventually producing a lot of pods and beans.

Harvest when the pods are dry. Let the beans stand in an open and sunny location before storing to make sure no moisture remains or the may mold or rot. When the pods start drying you can lower the amount of water you give the plant to rush it into maturing the beans, just make sure to time it correctly or you may get less beans overall.

That's about it for growing beans. You can plant them in one week intervals if you want to harvest all season or if you don't want to have a large harvest at the same time. It's recommended that you rotate every growing season in a two or three year cycle with unrelated plants to stop the spread of disease and increase overall yield of your plot.

Be sure to read more on the blog, where you can find experiments and other special techniques that make growing beans a breeze!