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 2022 Heirloom Seed Catalogue

Browse Seeds

  • Grown originally by Sean Flynn of Killucan or Cloughan, Co. Westmeath, we trialled this cut and come variety in 2020 and found it worthy to save the seed in 2021. A mild flavored medium sized cabbage green with a lightly crinkled semi-flat leaf.
  • Electric Daisy ‘Yellow’

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A completely yellow version of the previous ‘Bulls eye’ cultivar. See ‘Electric Daisy Bulls eye’ for description.
  • Out of stock
    A great maincrop carrot, dark orange in colour with a wonderful sweet taste. Vigorous growth and strong foliage. This variety is often chosen in Europe to produce carrot juice due to its high brix value (number of grams of sucrose per 100grams of liquid). Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Certified Organic
  • Translates as ‘Great Good’, this pea has been around since 1872 and with good reason. Described as ‘a willing giant of a pea, brimming with health and large luscious pods’. Needs firm supports.
  • Certified Organic
  • York Swede

    2.95
    Sometimes known as York Purple Top, it has the distinction of being grand champion at the royal winter Fair in Toronto. Smooth, uniform, fine quality roots with purple shoulders and sweet yellow flesh. Small to medium in size and excellent winter keeper.
    Certified Organic
  • A rare, smooth-skinned variety from Switzerland. Described by growers as “spectacular, tender bulbs with fantastic flavour and bolt resistant”, “Very successful and absolutely delicious”.
    Certified Organic
  • Coral Pea

    2.95
    A reliable garden green pea, not too tall with good yields producing early with many  delicious peas (up to 8 per pod). They hold their sweetness well. Certified Organic
  • This is a rare old landrace variety. It was maintained by a family in the mountains of the Swabinalb Region in Germany. This swede is a lovely uniform, very sweet medium-sized root with great flavour. It has good resistance to boron deficiency. Certified Organic
  • Electric Daisy ‘Bulls Eye’

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A very interesting addition to the garden. Also known as ‘toothache plant’ and ‘Tingflower’ owing to the numbing-buzzing sensation delivered to the mouth if leaves or flowers are chewed. Traditionally used in Brazil where they originate as a herbal remedy for tooth pain. The flowers are petal- less and cone shaped predominantly yellow but having a dark ‘bulls eye’ in the centre. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Grown for generations in the Channel Islands, an essential ingredient when dried, of a local dish there called the ‘Jersey bean Crock Pot’. The flat bean pods are stripped, very productive and can be eaten either fresh or matured and dried.  Certified Organic
  • ‘Ruby Regis’ Lavatera

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A stunning upright bushy annual with masses of deep veined funnel shaped bright pink blooms. Our seed came from ‘Bôite de Graines’ seed company in France via former staff member Flora Barteau.
  • A German heritage variety of champion size, originally from Schmeltz. It remains tender and buttery even when it grows very big. Rich soil and of plenty space is required for this mammoth vegetable. Certified Organic
  • The seeds of this variety were brought back from an international slow food gathering in Turin, Italy. We weren’t initially sure whether it was going to be a leaf/chard type or a fodder beet- root crop. When grown in our gardens it turned out to be a vigorous, hardy crop with large light green leaves.
  • This pea was widely cultivated in the 1800’s, also known as Sangsters No. 1. An article in the New York Times 1881 describes bushels being sold every spring on both sides of the Atlantic. There is even a drawing of this pea and others by Charles Darwin in 1898. It has been given a new lease of life on repatriation to us from the Vavilov Russian gene bank. A tall vine, with prolific quantities of pods full of 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
  • A cordon tomato bearing lovely yellow fruits of varying sizes some up to beefsteak-size.  They ripen to a deep glowing orange with a pleasant flavour, great for making sauces as well as sliced fresh. Certified Organic
  • In 2018 we carried out a comparative trial between ‘Major Dunne’ and ‘Major Doon’, to try and ascertain if they were one and the same variety but with different name spellings as can often be the case. The Major Doon seed was acquired from The Heritage Seed Library in the UK who in turn had received it from a donor, Joseph McKeen, who sent them the seed of this Scottish heritage variety when he discovered he could no longer buy it commercially. It’s a superb purple- topped, globe swede with an excellent sweet flavour. It’s great raw and stores well – if you don’t eat them all straight away of course! In the absence of DNA testing, we concluded that Major Dunne & Major Doon are one and the same.
  • Easy to grow your own. Linseed is full of essential fatty acids & is a great health food. Sown in spring you will be treated to delicate satiny sky-blue flowers every day before pods ripen full of seeds. Certified Organic
  • This bush bean came from one the European seed shares and is a traditional variety for 'drying beans' the plants are healthy and uniform. Leave pods on the vine for as long as possible until they have dried to a parchment. The lovely amber-brown beans inside will need further drying indoors to store for winter to use in soup, stew, casseroles, risotto, etc. Once dried they will need soaking for a few hours before cooking. Certified Organic
  • Wonderful mustard greens with lush big, brilliant green leaves. A delicious flavour, not too strong. Especially nice steamed, and served with a lemon juice and soya sauce dressing. Certified Organic
  • This cordon variety was bred by biodynamic growers in Germany. A cordon rounded-oval plum tomato, has good resistance to blight and fruit splitting. Yields well, with a fruity flavour, firm skin, holds its shape when cut, perfect in a salad or sandwich. Certified Organic
  • Easy to grow your own. Linseed is full of essential fatty acids & is a great health food. Sown in spring you will be treated to delicate satiny sky-blue flowers every day before pods ripen full of seeds. Certified Organic
  • Soissons is one of the most ancient towns in the North East of France beside the Aisine River. This is a rich agricultural valley from which this traditional bush-bean hails. An upright plant 40cm tall, white cream flowers. Flat oval pods can be eaten fresh or allow the beans to mature, the white seeds can be kept for a dried bean. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This came from the British Heritage Seed library, but presumably has Irish origins. It grows well and is very hardy, the flowers have a lovely scent. Produces long pods with four or five creamy seeds. Can be used for autumn sowing. Certified Organic
  • A prolific dwarf variety. Uniform plants with yellow pods and golden/brown beans when mature. We trialled them in 2020 at Capparoe and then our very reliable seed guardian Colm O Driscoll grew them on at Airfield Estate to bulk up our supplies.
  • A favourite of Mona one of our seed guardians who has saved seed of this variety for over 15 years. A cordon giving a plentiful supply of sweet, sweet round medium size bright yellow fruit. Certified Organic
  • This beautiful, tall pea came originally from the Northern Irish Organic Garden Society having been grown in Ireland for three generations. Needs good supports, but worth the effort giving a great abundance of large pods filled with the sweetest peas. Thanks to supporter Liam Gaffney for sending seed for us to grow on. Certified Organic
  • Easy to grow, vigorous variety for spring and autumn sowing. Mildew resistant. Has lovely glossy green leaves that are tender and delicate. Certified Organic
  • This is the continental parsley often known as Hamburg parsley. Rather than eating the leaves, this parsley is grown for eating its root. The variety actually comes from Croatia. It has broad shoulders with a conical shape and good flavour. Dig them in autumn/winter and use them as you would parsnips, good roasted with other roots and tubers. Certified Organic
  • Named after the famous pea breeder, going back to the 1800’s. Quite an early maturing variety with a long harvest season. Particularly suitable to a maritime climate such as ours. 7-9 peas per pod, delicious tasting. Certified Organic
  • Purple Poppy

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A very handsome and cheery large poppy species with lilac petals and dark patches at the base. The leaves are lobed and wrinkled, stems bluish green. They produce large seed capsules. Super easy to save the seeds.
  • Hopi Red Dye Amaranthus

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    This one came from the Hopi people of Arizona and New Mexico, so called because they used the stems to make a food colouring for their bread ‘Piki’. The leaves can be used like a spinach, and are an excellent source of many vitamins, proteins and trace elements. The plants can grow up to 1.4 m, the flowers a vibrant, rich deep red make a stunning display, hanging in cascades 30-60cm long.  Needs some staking. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Introduced in 1845, this wonderful cucumber does as it suggests and starts fruiting very quickly giving lots of short- medium dark green fruit. They have an excellent flavour, mild and sweet and crisp in texture. Keeps cropping over a long season. This variety is reputed to be quite hardy so may be worth trying outdoors in our short summers. Certified Organic
  • These (Seeds) shallots are a superb French heirloom variety. Deliciously sweet and mild and easy to slice. Often called Banana-type shallots for their torpedo shaped bulbs. They have wonderful pink-brown skins and are very productive. They produce good-sized bulbs which are useful for storing.
  • Out of stock

    McAnallen’ Sunflower

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A remarkably large and robust sunflower. With food or oil crops in mind for the future this has serious potential not to mention it is hugely attractive and striking. Certified Organic
  • This seed will produce a diverse range of onion shapes, sizes and colours. Expect to obtain a healthy crop of round to slightly flattened light golden-umber to brownish purple onions. Stamme was originally a Norwegian onion which we obtained from the Wellsbourne gene- bank, selected for its short production time i.e. early maturity in a long day environment.
  • Out of stock
    This gracious lady was catalogued in the R.H.S. dictionary of plants as far back as 1633. Incredible bi-coloured blossoms of scarlet-orange and creamy white, continuing for most of the season. They develop into long fine flavoured green beans. May also be used dried. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This very early variety, is a compact bush- type with cherry red, juicy fruit, ripening long before the end of June. The flavour a dense, delicious tangy sweetness. Certified Organic
  • Endive is eaten widely on the continent and this French heirloom, broadleaf type is easy to grow; very hardy so can be used for an over-winter crop. Its crisp furled leaves give nice texture to salads, though they have a slightly bitter edge (this stimulates the appetite). Leaves respond well to cut and come again treatment making them a most productive winter salad. Certified Organic
  • As the name implies, a turnip-shaped beetroot. Originally from North America and dating back to 1825. It has dark red, sweet flesh with occasional pink areas.
  • A Japanese pumpkin also known as 'Kabocha' squash, that grows several small fruit per plant with mottled green skin. The flesh is deep yellow to orange with a firm, fine texture, quite dry with 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 for one of the Gods' of Luck, so must be good to have in the garden! Certified Organic
  • From the North of Chile, Red Faro is both productive for the grain and attrac- tive with red-pink foliage and cream seed heads. Certified Organic
  • Donated to us by supporter Pam from Wales, who has saved this beautiful bean for 20 years which originally came from China. Pods are striped red and have quite a lot of variation which is lovely to see and taste great. Certified Organic
  • A vigorous, robust red onion. Good to use both fresh and also suitable for storage. Dark red round-flat bulbs. Matures quite early and is very productive. Certified Organic
  • This is a brassica plant also known as ‘Chinese Violet Cress’, used for salad or cooking greens. Coming originally from China made popular by Joy Larkom's recommendation, it gives mild but tasty leaves through the winter, followed by beautiful violet flowers in spring which are also edible. Certified Organic
  • We grew out all the six native Irish swede varieties together in 2015 so we could do botanical descriptor work on them. This seed is then a mix of all six varieties and there may be some interesting surprises if the flowers were cross pollinated! Certified Organic
  • A wonderful mange-tout found in a market in Laos, coming to us via Liam Gaffney from Adam Alexander. A wonderful productive crop of green pods from bi-coloured purple and mauve flowers. Pods (7-9cm) can be allowed to swell and shelled as peas which dry to a stunning brown and speckled purple pea. Average 7 peas to a pod. Plants grow to approx. 2m so they need good supports. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A popular variety grown in Cork and donated to us by Eddie Lucey. A round, medium sized swede turnip with purple/magenta skin and delicious golden flesh. Good disease resistance and very hardy even in exposed locations.
    Certified Organic
  • Beautiful medium-sized solid heads of red cabbage with mild flavour and intense colour. Stands well over winter with little loss to frost. Certified Organic
  • An old landrace variety originally from Switzerland and being selected and bred by a Swiss farmer. We shared this variety with our friends at Adaptive Seeds in the pacific northwest of the USA where they have undertaken leek trials. This leek has good large stalks, dark green leaves and is hardy through winter. Certified Organic
  • This translates simply as ‘Round ball’, deep red in colour with a delicious fruity, mild taste particularly good in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Large upright plants with abundant crisp, juicy light green crinkly leaves. Adapted to difficult conditions and very slow to bolt, yet holds sweet flavour and tenderness through warm summers and cool winters. This variety is documented as far back as 1850 in England. Certified Organic
  • Stenu Pea

    2.95
    This is a tall pea, up to 2m so needs good support, the word ‘Stenu’ itself means wall or rock in several Eastern European languages - something to grow on perhaps! Gorgeous pink-purple flowers produce pods of up to 8 peas. Lovely eaten young and raw and they sweeten up even more when cooked. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • From the Italian ‘rotonda’ meaning ‘round’, this beetroot grows quite large into perfect round spheres. Very juicy and sweet, with a distinct earthy flavour.
    Certified Organic
  • A cordon-type, of small salad tomatoes, glossy red globes produced in attractive cascades. The fruit are quite uniform and delicious. A reliable cropper starting early and going on for a long season.
  • A prolific producer of succulent broccoli spears when sown late Spring/early Summer for harvest from February the following year.
  • Popular, Italian heirloom courgette.  The dark green fruit are long (can reach up to 60cm and remain tender) and are distinctively ridged. They taste great and look very decorative when sliced and cooked. The plants are vigorous so give them plenty of space, they will produce well through the whole season, outdoors as well as under cover. Certified Organic
  • This one is a mix of the many colours of different types of Quinoa, tan, red, orange and black, each with a slightly different attribute - sweeter or nuttier or chewier. 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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