Why are growing numbers of people choosing to buy seeds from Irish seed savers?

The ethos here at Irish Seed Savers Association, is to conserve and distribute wonderful rare and heritage varieties, as well as to encourage the skills of saving your own seed and empowering people to do this in their own gardens, small holdings or farms.

All of our seeds are grown and saved in Ireland and are Open Pollinated which allows you to save your own seeds from them, keeping the variety true to type. By choosing Irish Seed Savers Open Pollinated Seeds you contribute to keeping food security in your own hands and Irish agricultural biodiversity alive and vibrant.

Download 2023 Heirloom Seed Catalogue

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  • ‘Ruby Regis’ Lavatera

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    Our seed for this variety came from ‘Bôite de Graines’ a seed company in France where our former staff member Flora Barteau now works. It is a stunning upright bushy annual with masses of deep-veined, funnel-shaped, bright pink blooms. Certified Organic
  • A delicious orange-skinned pumpkin with thick, creamy-orange flesh. A rare heirloom bred and cultivated by Amish farmers in the mountains of Maryland, USA. An impressive landrace with intrinsic genetic diversity. Some fruits are heart/acorn-shaped. Others tend towards the more traditional round. These traits were also observed by other growers. It produces well outdoors and undercover. The large fruits store well, as long as you can resist roasting thick slices or baking them in a pie. Certified Organic
  • This rare variety comes from the Amish people of Pennsylvania. The bountiful plants give many trusses full of fruit all throughout the season. The plum-shaped fruit is medium-sized and pink-red in colour, with a lovely fresh sweet but tangy flavour. Excellent sliced for salads, and good cooked too. Certified Organic
  • Angelica

    3.50
    A herb taking its name from an angel who revealed its virtues of protection from infection to a monk. It is a biennial, though often lives longer, and can grow to a height of 2m. A statuesque plant which is is easy to grow, prefers damp ground and self-seeds readily. All parts of this lovely plant are subtly aromatic and have both medicinal and culinary uses. It is often cooked with tart fruits like rhubarb, helping to reduce the acidity. The seeds are used in biscuits, and both seed and root are ingredients in some liqueurs. BIENNIAL
  • Aquilegia/Granny’s Bonnet

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    A graceful but hardy plant, with delicate, purple/mauve/pink flowers that sit on tall stems above a mound of scalloped foliage. Also known as ‘Granny’s Bonnet’. Flowers May to June. Good for cut flowers, or seed heads can be dried for winter displays. Slugs don’t like it! Certified Organic
  • This tomato variety comes from Siberia. It germinates at low temperatures and grows well in cool conditions. Though it is a bush variety it is quite large and might benefit from some support. Can be grown outdoors as well as indoors. The large, slightly flattened fruits are red, juicy and ripen early. Certified Organic
  • Autumn Hawkbit

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    This native perennial wildflower grows to about 25 cm high. It has bright golden-yellow, red-streaked flower-heads on branched stems that appear from July to October. The attractive green leaves are oblong-shaped with narrow, wavy lobes. Seeds are best started in pots, left to overwinter outside, and planted out in plugs in the spring. Certified Organic
  • This rare English heritage variety has very large broad roots, smooth white skin, and a delicious sweet flavour. It has good resistance to canker and excellent tolerance of frosty cold weather. Because of its sweet flavour, this parsnip is especially tasty when roasted. Certified Organic
  • The ‘Rose from Bern’ is a Swiss heirloom, well suited to cooler climes. A reliable cordon-type producing round, thin-skinned, pinky-red fruit. Quite large and fleshy, these tomatoes are utterly juicy and delicious. Seed Guardian Mona has been growing this one for years as her family favourite. These versatile fruits can be eat fresh, sliced and cooked. Certified Organic
  • An Irish landrace with classic purple and white skin, growing to a good size. The golden flesh is very sweet and tasty, and the plants last well into spring before going woody. All round ‘excellent’, as described by a supporter. Madeline at Brown Envelope Seeds trialled it one winter in conjunction with popular commercial varieties and it came out ‘Best of All’.
    Certified Organic
  • A delightful Japanese heirloom squash with deeply ribbed skin. It is an early ripening variety, green-black when young but turning a warm buff orange colour as it cures. The small fruits are slightly nutty in flavour with a smooth and creamy texture. Excellent when roasted. Certified Organic
  • A French heirloom, this productive variety has small, pale-green fruit. ‘Carpaccio’ is a great way to enjoy this fruity-flavoured gem of a courgette – cut into thin vertical slices, marinated with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and grilled briefly on both sides. Garnish with fresh coriander.
    Certified Organic
  • A unique Dutch heritage pea, ‘Blauwshokker’ translates as ‘blue pod’, referencing the stunning indigo-blue pods of this variety. The vines reach 1.8m in height, with striking bi-coloured purple/blue flowers that add great ornamental value to the garden. The sweet, green pods can be eaten young as mangetout, but this pea is especially wonderful in soups and stews, as was the tradition in Holland and Germany. Certified Organic
  • This heirloom variety produces delicious and beautiful blue-green crinkled leaves. It is compact and very cold-hardy. Commonly eaten boiled as greens, it can also be chopped fresh for salads when young.
  • Bluebells

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    These beautiful late-spring native flowers like to grow in shady conditions that mirror their classic woodland habitat, but will tolerate sunny and semi-sunny sites. Lovely, tubular, purple-blue flowers droop on top of the long racemes that emerge from April-June. Seeds are best started in pots, left to overwinter outside, and planted out in plugs in the spring.
  • Gifted to us by a Hungarian supporter with little more than ‘Bob’ on the packet, we were intrigued by this little bean. After some research, we discovered that ‘Bób’ is the Polish word for broad bean, and that these small-sized beans are often used in a traditional ‘Bób Salatki’ or broad bean salad. The robust plants produce beans that resemble the ‘Windsor’ type, having shorter pods and round, smaller beans. Delicious tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs in a traditional ‘Bób Salatki’ for a light, protein-rich dish. Certified Organic
  • This lovely rainbow chard produces a bounty of colourful stems, topped with large green and bronze leaves. Each plant reaches about 50cm in height and 40cm in spread. The leaves can be harvested from mid-summer to late autumn, and the plants can even be overwintered to provide a fresh crop in the spring. The flavour is deliciously mild, with young leaves suitable for salads and larger leaves perfect for soups and sautéing. Certified Organic
  • Buan Onion

    3.50
    This is a true native Irish onion bred by Barnie Crombie who was still doing on- ion trials up until the 1980’s when he passed on. However, he had sent seed to the Russian and English gene banks from which Irish Seed Savers Association received seed and we have been growing and saving this unique variety since. It has performed extremely well in the most adverse conditions for ‘good quality onions’, i.e. an average Irish summer. The name comes from old Irish, ‘Long life’, and it is indeed a really good white fleshed storage bulb, often not sprouting until summer the following season. Certified Organic
  • This popular European heirloom is a quick growing, early-maturing autumn variety. It is renowned for being especially tall with a long, thin stem. Its leaves are light green and it has a delicious sweet flavour, ideal for salads and soups. Certified Organic
  • Calendula Marigold

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    Calendula officinalis, also known as the pot marigold or common marigold, is a flowering plant in the daisy family. It is probably native to southern Europe, though its exact origin is unknown. It is a robust plant with bright green leaves and cheerful orange and yellow-gold flowers. The flower petals can be eaten, it is good for companion planting, and it has lots of medicinal uses. Certified Organic
  • This mid-late variety is known for its bolt-resistance, even in especially hot conditions. It produces a half-open, good-sized head, with round, ruffled leaves that are bright green, turning deep red at the edge. Crisp in texture with crunchy ribs, this lettuce remains sweet and juicy for a good amount of time in the ground. Certified Organic
  • Given to us by Pam Savidge in Wales, who describes the bean as “A variety usually grown in West Wales, they have survived many a bad summer. I have saved my seed since 1961 when I was given seed by a neighbour who was in his 80s. He was given the seed by his grandfather, a stonemason that mended church spires.” What a wonderful history. This variety has grown outstandingly well outdoors at Capparoe this summer, giving beautiful, long, slender beans pods that contain gorgeous pink and black bean seeds when mature. Certified Organic
  • This lovely winter radish came as the name suggests from China and was introduced to Europe in the 1880s. Perfect for autumn planting, the long, cylindrical, tapering roots reach 15-20cm in length and 5cm in diameter. The skin is a beautiful rose colour, with white tips and firm white flesh. These spicy, peppery roots are delicious when cooked up, or even sliced and eaten raw. A very good variety for storage. Certified Organic
  • Both the plants and fruits of this heirloom pepper are small and stocky, with the fruits almost having the appearance of tomatoes. The ‘chocolate’ name refers to the colour of the peppers, which is a rich, dark brown/red, rather than the flavour, which is mild and sweet when cooked. The texture is firm and crisp, so this little pepper would be ideal for stuffing with cream cheese and roasting whole. Certified Organic
  • Popular, Italian heirloom courgette. The dark green fruit are long (can reach up to 60cm and remain tender) and are distinctively ridged. The plants are vigorous so give them plenty of space, they will produce well through the whole season, outdoors as well as under cover. They taste great and look very decorative when sliced and cooked. Certified Organic
  • Crown Flax

    3.50
    Repatriated from the Vavilov Institute for Plant Genetic Resources in Russia by Irish Seed Savers, this is an Irish bred flax variety of note. Referenced by Dr. GDH Bell (Cambridge) in his book 'Cultivated Plants of the Farm' 1948, he explained that "pre 1940's the flax grown for the United Kingdom, by Ireland, had been of Russian and Dutch origin. Breeding work commenced on these stocks by mass selection and were an improvement on the originals but they were subsequently given place to the Irish bred varieties, the best of which include the variety Liral Crown". Flax is grown both for its nutritional seeds and for its fibers. Various parts of the plant have been used in the past to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, soap, and bowstrings. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens for it's exquisite ethereal mauve/blue flowers. Grows to 60cm, 5 seed heads per plant Certified Organic
  • Coming Soon
    This is a de-hybridized version of the variety you will often find listed as an F1. Listed by Vilmorin in 1856 as ‘Verte d’Australie’. Mona one of our Seed Guardians has kept her seed year-on-year and it grows reliably the same each time, so almost definitely not an F1. With all the blue pumpkins, it hails from Australia. The silvery blue skin contrasts beautifully with its bright orange flesh. The dense flesh is deliciously sweet and nutty, second to none. Good for storage too.
    Certified Organic
  • An Irish heritage variety, originally saved in the Russian gene bank and repatriated to Ireland. These plants grow quite tall (2m) so a strong fence is required but you will be rewarded with prolific small pods and sweet peas, best eaten while young. Good disease resistance, the peas can also be left to mature and dry off to be used as a soup pea in winter. Certified Organic
  • This easy to grow, vigorous variety is ideal for spring and autumn sowing. It is mildew resistant and cold hardy. Its lovely glossy-green leaves are tender and delicate, perfect for winter salads. Certified Organic
  • Bred by Alan Kapular and brought to us by our seed ambassadors visiting from Oregon a few years back, this variety has been described as ‘beautiful, vigorous and prolific’. The tender green beans are mild and delicious, and the mature bean seeds make a delicious addition to stews. Certified Organic
  • This fabulous variety was bred by biodynamic growers in Germany. The plants have good resistance to fruit-splitting and blight. It yields very well, providing plenty of juicy oval-shaped plum tomatoes throughout the season. Firm skin means the fruit holds it shape when cut, perfect for salads and sandwiches. Certified Organic
  • A vigorous, short-stemmed variety with a firm, round/oval head and short inner stalk. Under good conditions the heads (averaging 1.5kg) can be stored well until January. It is delicious cooked and also ideal for eating raw. Certified Organic
  • A favourite from the tomato trials of our Latvian collection. The plants produce medium-sized, teardrop-shaped golden-coloured fruit of incredible sweetness. As it is a yellow variety, the fruit tends to be less acidic than that of the reds. A grower in Meath says “I grew Dzintare Lasite outside in a sheltered spot and they did very well, better than the red ones.” Certified Organic
  • Coming Soon
    Introduced in 1911, this old variety has round roots and smooth dark red skin. The glossy leaves also make good greens. Though it matures early, a single sowing can be harvested over a long period. Here are the descriptions from our staff who did a taste test: ‘mouth-watering’, ‘sweet’, ‘juicy and tender’.
    Certified Organic
  • This rare landrace kale from the Friesland area of northern Germany can no longer be found in commercial catalogues. “Highly praised and almost gone’”, according to grower Reinhard Lühring, “In the shade of the East Friesen Palm we cannot stroll under the southern sun, but we enjoy the green all winter long”. A very tall curly kale that can be harvested from late summer all the way through the winter and into the following spring.
  • A Japanese pumpkin also known as ‘Kabocha’ squash, grows several small fruits per plant with mottled green skin. The flesh is a deep yellow to orange with a firm, fine texture, quite dry with a sweet, delicate flavour, not unlike a sweet potato. The skin itself becomes quite tender when cooked so does not need peeling. Excellent keeping qualities. Ebisu is the name of one of the Gods of Luck, so it must be good to have in the garden! Certified Organic
  • A very old heritage variety, originating in Egypt and dating back to the 1800s. In a crop description from 1885, the French seed producer Vilmorin states ‘Exceedingly early variety, best of all early kitchen garden kinds’. This is echoed in modern times by gardener Bob Flowerdew who proclaims that it has ‘the best flavour’. Early maturing, smooth skin on wide roots, deep crimson/purple flesh, both sweet and tender. Very popular among the staff in taste tests. Grows above the ground, so easy to pull when harvesting.
    Certified Organic
  • Electric Daisy ‘Bulls Eye’

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    Traditionally used in Brazil as a herbal remedy for dental pain, this plant is also known as ‘toothache plant’ and ‘tingflower’, owing to the numbing-buzzing sensation delivered to the mouth if leaves or flowers are chewed. The cone-shaped flower head is golden-yellow, with a dark red ‘bullseye’ in the centre. Flowering from mid-summer to early autumn, this plant is a lovely and intriguing addition to the garden. Certified Organic
  • Elephant Amaranth

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    This is an heirloom variety that went to the USA with German immigrants in 1880. A plant with character and striking beauty, this variety can grow up to 1.5 m tall, with a thick, maroon-red flowering stalk that looks like a raised elephant trunk. As well as its stunning flower display, the young leaves are edible. Certified Organic
  • This is a rare old landrace variety, maintained by a family in the mountains of the Swabian Alb Region in Germany. This swede produces a lovely, uniform, very sweet, medium-sized root. Good resistance to boron deficiency. Certified Organic
Supported in part by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Pobal through the Community Services Programme. We confirm that our organisation complies with The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland.

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