How to Grow Dried Beans (Like Pinto Beans)

How to grow dried beans

Did you know you can grow dried beans? Like pinto beans and black beans? You sure can, right in your home vegetable garden. Dry type beans like pinto beans grow just like green beans in the garden. You can store them for months, just like store-bought dried beans.

Beans have a ton of nutrients and fiber. They are a super healthy part of your diet. Click here to see more.

To grow your own dried beans, first plant the beans. You can even plant beans you buy to eat from the store if you wish. We purchased seed packets to make sure we were getting organic and non-GMO seeds. We plant ours around April 15th which is our last frost date.

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We plant the beans two knuckles deep for the kids or one for me. Poke a small hole in the soil up to that knuckle and drop the seed in. Then fill the hole with dirt and pat it about as hard as you would rub your eye. Water well and keep moist until the plant is established. 

How to Grow Dried Beans

How to Grow Dried Beans

Most beans can be eaten as green beans or allowed to mature more on the vine or bush and harvested as dry beans. If your green beans go too far on the vine, just harvest them and boil them like pinto beans. 

As dried beans grow, instead of picking them off the vines like green beans, you let them grow to maturity and dry right on the vines.  When they turn yellow or brown, you pick the pods off and store them for a few more weeks on a wire rack to finish drying. 

You can shell them before or after you dry them, they will dry fine either way. If you harvest the entire vine, you can bang them up against the inside of a barrel and the beans will come out all at once. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you have to plant A LOT of drying beans to get a pound. However, it is fun and super easy to do!

How to dry and store beans

When we take out spent vines at Little Sprouts, we leave the roots in the soil for further nutrients next time we use our soil.  The roots have nodules of nitrogen that give even more nutrients than other plants.  We just cut them off at ground level with scissors and let the roots compost over the winter.

How to Grow Dried Beans

This is what the dried bean pods look like.

The kids LOVE to shell the beans and it’s a great activity for fine motor skill development.  In addition, they get sensory experience from this activity.  There are many beautiful beans that can be grown in beautiful color varieties for even more learning.  You can save some of them to use for seeds next year. 

How to Grow Dried Beans

This is what they look like in the pod, when you open it, they just fall out.


How to Grow Dried Beans



The kids love to harvest dried beans. They call it popping beans and beg to do it. We tried to grow a ton of dried beans, but we ended up with a little less. We have been popping beans on and off for several weeks and finally, we are finished shelling them all.


We grew black beans, pinto beans, and a few little beans from overgrown green beans that we will cook up the same way. In total, we shelled 3 ½ pounds.

The whole time we were shelling them, I kept wondering how beans are so cheap at the store. It’s a lot of work to prepare them for eating. I can’t imagine shelling 50 pounds of beans. WOW.

You can let your dried beans dry out and replant them again next year. Seed saving is a great thing to teach the kids in the garden. We could also replant these beans for growing more vines. 

As we were shelling, I kept thinking of that thrift store rap song about popping tags. If you can look past the onslaught of foul language, it’s kinda funny. So I made up this little diddy to the tune. Needless to say, I’m a little weird. But I make myself smile.

I’m gonna pop some beans

I got 20 hands to help me drop ’em

I’m gonna pop some beans

And feed these kids some tacos…

How to grow:

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Brussel Sprouts


Birdhouse gourds


What experiences have you had with beans in the garden?

Don’t forget to pin for later.

How to grow dried beans

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  1. Brouwer says:

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  2. Anne Marie says:

    Not only did I have no idea you can plant pinto or black beans, I had no idea what they look like in the pod. You are lightyears ahead of me. Another wonderful lesson for your kids. You do such good work and your posts always make me smile 🙂

  3. I love all of this work you are doing with kids! These skills will help them in so many ways!

  4. Mike the Gardener says:

    This is such a wonderful exercise for the kids! Mine get a kick out of it.

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