Here we include bush dry beans, pole beans and snap beans. These are usually planted in late May or early June.
New growers of dry beans will be very pleasantly surprised by how delicious and digestible they are. Dry beans deteriorate as they oxidize; they just do so much more slowly than broccoli or tomatoes. Purchased dry beans are usually a few years old and have lost their luster. Homegrown dry beans have a vibrancy that you can both see and experience if you eat them before the next year's harvest. They cook up in about 50 minutes at a low simmer.
Beans are usually classified as snap, shell or dry, depending on the stage they are best eaten. Snap (or "green") beans are picked fresh and whole from early summer onward, when the seeds are undeveloped or very small. Shell (or "horticultural") beans are slipped from their pods when they are fully formed but not yet dried out. Dry beans are harvested when they rattle in the pods. Most dry beans make good snap beans and quite a few are great as shell beans.
Saving your own seed: The seeds are what you eat and they are what you sow. Most dry beans do not cross-pollinate, so you don't need to isolate varieties. Planting instructions are on the seed packets, which contain 60 or more beans.