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.

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    A Russian heirloom. This bush tomato is incredibly bountiful, giving large amounts of sweet medium sized tomatoes from each plant. Certified Organic
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    A heritage variety from Russia. Productive and early fruiting bush. The fruit are medium sized and round, ripening to a deep golden yellow/ amber, mild and sweet. Certified Organic
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    This is a very rare variety coming from the Amish people of Pennsylvania. A cordon, the fruit is slightly plum shaped, medium sized, pink/red, giving many trusses full of fruit. They have a lovely fresh sweet but tangy flavour. Excellent sliced for salads, but good cooked too. Certified Organic
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    Angelica

    2.95
    This herb took its name from an angel that revealed its virtues of protection from infection to a monk. It is a statuesque bienniel, though often lives longer and can reach 2m high. All parts of the plant are subtly aromatic and have both medicinal and culinary uses. It is often cooked in conjunction with tart fruits like rhubarb as it helps reduce the acidity. The seeds are used in biscuits and both seed and root are ingredients in some liqueurs. Easy to grow, prefers damp ground and self seeds readily.
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    A Romanian heirloom, brought to the USA by an acrobat called Jan Antohi. Upright, compact plants, that produce a good yield of delicious thick walled sweet peppers that ripen to a scarlet red, large and small pointed fruits that ripen through late Summer, into late Autumn. Certified Organic
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    A native Irish selection of hardy and vigorous sprouts, holds its own with whatever the winter weather brings. Overall large plants with numerous big sprouts holding well through winter, but as with any landrace types you will find some variation.
    Certified Organic
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    This veritable aged lettuce was described in ‘The Gardener’ magazine in 1867, “ought to be in every garden”. Large green crisp juicy leaves with a red tinge, form a loose ‘cos -type’ head. It is hardy, so can be grown through autumn and winter from a late summer sowing. Certified Organic
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    ‘The Rose from Bern’ is a Swiss heirloom well suited to cooler climes. A cordon type producing thin skinned round pink/ red fruit quite large and fleshy that are utterly juicy and delicious. Seed Guardian Mona has been growing this one for years as her family favourite to eat fresh, sliced and cooked, reliable and versatile. Certified Organic
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    A traditional swede/turnip, with purple and white skin growing to a good size. Golden flesh very sweet and tasty, lasting 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
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    This is a selection from ‘Scarlet’ runner, so the plants have the same attributes. However, this variety produces beautiful dark lustrous beans which can be dried and used in soups and stews. Occasionally a plant may revert back to its origin giving you the more common mauve/black beans! Certified Organic
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    A Russian heirloom variety. The large fruits are unique looking, dark red-purple, juicy and have a rich sweet flavour. Popular variety for many chefs.
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    A large white root with thin black skin and crisp pungent flesh. Very cold hardy and can be harvested through the winter after a late summer planting. The roots will sweeten when cooked. Very disease resistant and easy to grow.
    Certified Organic
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    A French heirloom ‘Full of delicate surprises’. Small, clear pale green fruit with a pleasant fruity flavour. ‘Carpaccio’ is a great way to enjoy this gem, cut the courgette into vertical slices, grill briefly on both sides, then marinate with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and fresh coriander.
    Certified Organic
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    Sometimes also called Bloomsdale Long standing, this heirloom has been cultivated since 1925. It is perhaps the most popular open pollinated variety being very slow to bolt, even in the warmer months. The glossy, dark savoyed leaves are tender and rich in flavour, the plants upright and vigorous. Can be sown from Feb – Oct, grows very well under cover over winter.
    Certified Organic
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    Sweet yellow fruit, more cherry-sized than currant. Vigorous cordon plants. Goes back to the 1900’s when it was originally found growing through a crack in the pavement in an American city. Very good variety for outdoor cultivation, showed excellent blight resistance and gave a good sweet crop very late into the autumn. Certified Organic
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    An unusual variety with cherry-type fruit dressed in appealing, earthy brown skins. More than a novelty - the fruits have very good flavour and are semi-sweet and juicy. Indeterminate vines that are sturdy and uniform. Produces over a long season. Certified Organic
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    Buan Onion

    2.95
    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
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    Named from the French town situated in rich, farming country, this yellow pod wax bean yields well in most climes. The beans are uniform in size, slim, stringless, crisp and firm with fine flavour. Certified Organic
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    Calendula Marigold

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    What garden would be complete without these brilliant, cheerful orange and yellow-gold flowers? Flower petals can be eaten.  Good for companion planting and lots of medicinal uses. Self-seeds with abundance. Certified Organic
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    A reliable old favourite Victorian heirloom variety. Prolific long, round and thick fleshy green pods, tender and tasty. They dry to a type of kidney bean, great for chill con carne. Certified Organic
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    These need some protection to get started, and produce much better under cover though can grow successfully outdoors. They are perennial, but often grown as an annual growing up to 2m so may need support. During winter cover the root clump with mulch for protection. They have very lovely lantern flowers which develop to contain edible round golden fruits, with a delicious tangy/sweet flavour and high in vitamin C. Certified Organic
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    An Italian heirloom bean that grows well here, as Micheal Viney from Mayo says ‘gave an outstanding crop in my tunnel, almost too vigorous’. The plants climb very quickly producing an abundant crop of delicious flat green podded beans late season. They are good for growing outdoors. A supporter in Kerry had great success using them as dry storage beans. Certified Organic
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    This pea came from Patrick Carruthers in Co. Down and has been grown and saved there for 25 years. Grows up to 1.6m, lovely magnenta-purple flowers which produce the colourful purple pods. The peas are lovely to eat fresh when young but are also great to allow to mature and dry for a winter storage pea. Certified Organic
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    These seeds came originally from Hopi Elders, the history of this corn goes back to the Anasazi people some 500 years ago. The seed corn was found in clay pots, hence the name. It grows very tall in the tunnel and gives large cobs of varying stunning colours from violet and black to shades of red, yellow, gold and cream truly as beautiful as jewels. This corn is a maize type, more for grinding into flour than eating as a sweet ‘corn on the cob’.
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    A unique variety with fine, feathery foliage giving all the distinctive taste and aroma of coriander with an extra sweetness and fragrance. Certified Organic
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    This hardy salad has been cultivated and eaten for hundreds of years. The small green leaves have a soft texture and mild, gentle flavour invaluable in winter salads. Also known as field salad or mache.
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    ‘Heavy cropping yellow pencil pod type beans, virtually string-less with excellent flavour’ says supporter Liam Gaffney who sent in seed for us to trial and save. Certified Organic
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    This variety you will find often listed as an F1. However, it is quite possibly the same as listed by Vilmorin in 1856 as ‘Verte d’Australie’ Mona one of our seed growers has kept her own seed year on year and it grows reliably the same each time, so almost definitely not an F1. As do all the blue pumpkins, it hails from Australia, the silvery-blue skin contrasts beautifully with its bright orange flesh. The dense flesh deliciously sweet and nutty, second to none. Good for storage.
    Certified Organic
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    Beautiful, big, blocky, deep red fruit define this Spanish variety of pepper. They have very thick, aromatic, sweet flesh with four distinct lobes that gives the name meaning ‘four hills’ or ‘four noses. The plants are large and may need some staking, but very productive grown under cover. Ideal peppers for stuffing and roasting. So sweet! Delicious raw also and very high in Vitamin C. Certified Organic
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    A wonderful heirloom from Denmark, famous for slicing with long cylindrical roots. This tender and sweet variety with dark red flesh is also known as ‘Butter Slicer’ or ‘Cooks Delight’ because of its wonderful texture.
    Certified Organic
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    The leaves of this variety, (from the 1800’s) are indeed ‘dagger’ like, narrow, long and graceful, purple-red in colour with a metallic lustre. They grow in a thick cluster and picked for a beautiful addition to the salad bowl. The roots are long, smooth and spindle shaped with blood red tender flesh. Certified Organic
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    This is an oriental radish, can grow up to 25cm long with dense and crunchy flesh, mild flavour. In Japan they are traditionally pickled but can also be used in stir fry or grated raw. Winter hardy can be sown from Spring to Autumn.
    Certified Organic
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    This is a really rare old heirloom variety going back to the 1700’s from the Amish people. Very unusual rosette shaped heads with bright green triangular leaves. The heart is creamy, tender and sweet. Reliable, all season lettuce and very cold tolerant. A real gem.
    Certified Organic.
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    A popular native Irish cut ‘n’ come cabbage with great resilience even in difficult growing conditions like waterlogged soil or exposed places. It provides delicious purple/green tender crinkled leaves that can be picked for several months and go on producing more. Lovely addition to the winter garden.
    Certified Organic
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    This variety was bred in the 19th century by a then, small independant Scottish seed company ‘Dobbies’ which down the years has now morphed into a chain that is part of the Tesco empire. They are very sweet beets with long tapered roots that can be cut to cook without the colour bleeding.
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    The seed of this variety was donated to us by a Dr. Stewart of Bective, Co. Meath. It produces a much larger seed than ordinary varieties of linseed and is low growing which makes it suitable to grow in more exposed locations. It yields very well. Certified Organic
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    A Dutch heirloom with beans up to 16cm long, streaked purple that are delicious both fresh and as podded beans. Certified Organic
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    Now an Irish heirloom, probably once grown in the horticultural fields around Dublin. As the name suggests a great ‘cropper’ of delicious mild flavoured, medium size sprouts that keep on producing all through the vagaries of winter weather.
    Certified Organic
  • These are lovely strong plants with large luscious dark green leaves that can be picked from summer to late the following Spring. So sweet and tender they can even be used raw.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A favourite from our tomato trials of Latvian varieties. A medium, tear drop-shaped golden tomato of incredible sweetness. Yellow tomatoes tend to be less acidic than red ones. A grower in Meath goes on to say, "I grew Dzintare Lasite outside in a sheltered spot and they did very well, better than red ones". 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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