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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  • A superb French heirloom variety, often called Banana-type shallots for their torpedo shaped bulbs. The skin of this variety has a wonderful pink-brown colour, and it is very productive, producing good-sized bulbs which are useful for storing. Easy to slice and deliciously sweet and mild. Certified Organic
  • A hardy landrace parsley from an Armenian market place (as the name suggests, Yerevan being the capital of Armenia). Flat-leaved, with great flavour and large clumps. We grew the plants outside and were able to harvest leaves from this hardy variety all through winter. BIENNIAL Certified Organic
  • Woad

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    Woad has been used for centuries to obtain a blue dye. Though the extraction process is elaborate, it is easy to grow this ancient plant and, as nature and culture writer Richard Mabey says, ‘it's worth having in the garden’. An attractive plant with 1m high stems, long, succulent, blueish leaves that shine like stained glass, and foamy clusters of brilliant-yellow flowers. Certified Organic
  • This vigorous Swiss landrace was originally gifted to us by Karen Hermes and Charlotte Colchester. A tall variety growing up to 2m high, and unique in that it can be sown in October for an abundant spring crop of large-podded mange-tout. It is also suitable for spring sowing: “Sown in February, it grew vigorously and supplied pods in great quantity; excellent, delicious, easy, and rewarding. I thoroughly recommend this variety” says Alex Copland from Galway. Certified Organic
  • This leafy-green perennial has its origins in the Mediterranean region. It is straightforward and quick to grow, with its characteristic lobed leaves ready to harvest only 6 weeks after sowing. The flavour is sweetly peppery when the leaves are young, becoming spicier and more intense as the plant develops. A lovely addition to salads. Certified Organic
  • This is a vigorous and dependable variety, producing between four and seven fruits per vine. The lightly tanned, smooth skinned, bottle-shaped fruits have fine-textured, golden orange flesh. Exceptionally good keepers, this variety is perfect for storage if you can resist cooking up the fruits straightaway. The fruit have a small seed cavity with a low seed count, so it’s well worth saving your own!
    Certified Organic
  • Originating in Virginia, in the USA, this delicious curled spinach has the added benefit of being resistant to blight. As with most spinach, you’ll get better results if you sow in autumn as this crop tend to bolt in warm weather. Certified Organic
  • First listed in seed catalogues as far back as 1885, this lovely variety is still going strong. The long, cylindrical roots have the most beautiful purple skin and mild, sweet, white flesh. A great winter storage radish. Certified Organic
  • A rare heritage variety, coming originally from an heirloom collection offered by ‘Seeds by Size’ in England. This variety has long tapering roots, is sweet to eat and very hardy. Certified Organic
  • Originally from Switzerland, this old landrace was selected and bred by a Swiss farmer. We shared the seeds of this variety with our friends at Adaptive Seeds in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, where they have been undertaking leek trials. This reliable leek has good large stalks, dark green leaves and is hardy through winter. Certified Organic
  • Kindly donated to us by supporter Stephen Marsh, this is a lovely, large, green lettuce with an upright growing habit. The loosely curly leaves are very crunchy and strong-tasting, a great texture to have in a salad mix. Grows well year-round.
    Certified Organic.
  • Out of stock
    This variety of Italian origin can be grown all through summer, or, if sown in August, in a cool tunnel for a winter/spring harvest. It produces a decent-sized head and will continue to grow side shoots for several weeks after the main head is harvested. This calabrese is tender and delicious, perfect lightly steamed or roasted. Certified Organic
  • A variety of Sweetcorn that has been selected from a 1955 hybrid and which is now open pollinated. Described as an ‘old fashioned’ corn that will transform any plate to a luxurious meal. A late season corn that delivers tender, sweet, rich, delicious golden cobs up to 3 per plant.
    Certified Organic
  • This vigorous, quick-growing, brilliant yellow beet was developed by being rebred from old seed stocks. The round, golden roots have smooth skin and delicious, sweet-flavoured, bright yellow flesh. The colour keeps well, even when cooked. It’s also a delight in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • This variety is an old French heirloom from the 19th century. The roots of this Nantes type are crisp, sweet and juicy, with a deep orange colour. It is ideal for bunching and storing. Certified Organic
  • Tobacco

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)

    Tobacco plant, Nicotiana, has become a popular bedding plant in recent years. This lovely variety is especially tall-growing, with broad, luscious leaves and crowned with many pink-white trumpet-shaped flowers.

    Certified Organic

  • A native cultivar of swede returned to us from the Wellesbourne gene bank, UK. Like other native brassicas, it is hardy and disease resistant. It has a delicate, mellow, sweet flavour, still remembered fondly by many. “The flesh,” says Andrew Williams, “is not tough at all and keeps well through winter”.
    Certified Organic
  • Also known as ‘Branching Borecole’, this productive variety originated in the west of France, with records dating it as far back as 1865. Growing as large as 1m high, this is an easy-to-grow, plain-leaf kale with wide spreading foliage. Particularly suited to our climate, this reliable kale is hardy and very tolerant of poor soils. Supporter Hilary Killops suggests eating it ‘lightly steamed, and served with a sauce of yoghurt and a little chilli pepper.’
    Certified Organic
  • Named after the famous plant biologist and pea breeder Thomas Laxton, a heritage variety dating back to the 1800s. Quite an early-maturing pea, with 7-9 peas per pod, and a long harvest season. The vines are relatively short, reaching almost 1m in height. Cold resistant and particularly suitable to a maritime climate such as ours. Certified Organic
  • A very old variety mentioned in the book ‘Les Plantes Potageres’ in 1885. Quick to grow, producing small, tight rosettes of tasty light green leaves and loose heads. In 1904 it was listed by 116 seed merchants, yet now you would find it hard to buy anywhere! Certified Organic
  • Quinoa has been cultivated for about 5000 years and is indigenous to the Andean region of South America. This variety named after the city of Temuco in the Araucanía Region of southern Chile is a surprisingly easy and trouble-free crop. Direct sown in drills in April, it grew up to 1.5m tall, harvested in early September. A very nutritious crop, high in protein and essential amino acids. The seed contains bitter saponins (a chemical defense against birds), which needs to be washed out before use. Certified Organic
  • A fine sturdy heirloom variety from eastern Asia. Its long, deep-green leaves and juicy white stems add their fresh taste to salads and stirfrys. Certified Organic
  • This is a vigorous, thick-stemmed variety. Reaching heights of 2.5-3m, adequate support is definitely required for this robust pea. Lovely white flowers and soft marbled green leaves develop as the plant grows, giving way to a plethora of pods. Highly productive, with pods containing an average of 8 large peas developing well into the season. The peas are delicious – very sweet and crunchy when raw, softening after cooking. If you have the space, this is a highly recommended variety to grow. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Given to us in 2019 by Liam Gaffney, this seed originally comes from Alleppo, Syria. The plants have a climbing habit and so benefit from support as they grow. Best to wear gloves when pruning the plants – the leaves and stems have a prickliness characteristic of many cucurbits. Yellow flowers give way to lovely green, cylindrical, juicy fruits, which should be harvested when at their optimum 12cm length. This variety has high praise from Adam Alexander of Garden Organic, who says that of all the cucumbers he has ever grown this is the finest tasting. Certified Organic
  • Sweet Pea

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    This tall, climbing sweet pea has traditional old-fashioned mix of pink, white, mauve and purple colours, and that most lovely evocative fragrance. Best given support to get the most out of this lovely flower. Certified Organic
  • This lovely herb produces clear lemon-yellow flower heads, which are highly attractive to insects. It is very easy to grow, and its fern-like, aromatic leaves are perfect for salads, with fish, pickles and sauces. The seeds can also be harvested and used for flavouring, particularly along with gherkins. Certified Organic
  • This variety was sent into us by Stephen Marsh, a long-standing supporter of our work. Describing it as a ‘beautiful butterhead’, Stephen used to grow this variety 50 years ago when it was highly sought after. In 2016 Stephen rediscovered it in a catalogue and sent us the seeds. Big, light green, tasty heads with tightly packed fleshy hearts. It is described as a spring/summer sown type, but we sowed in early autumn and it grew fine and healthy under cover.
    Certified Organic.
  • Introduced to the market in 1861, this variety was selected from wild stock and ‘ennobled’ by a Professor at Cirencester Agricultural College. It was then taken up by Suttons, a long-established supplier of seeds in the UK. This variety has long tapering roots of good size and a very pleasant flavour, delicious mashed or roasted. Certified Organic
  • A German heritage variety of champion size, originally from Schmeltz. Rich soil and plenty of space is required for this mammoth vegetable, which can reach up to 8kg over a long season. The colour is white to light-green and despite its large size, this kohlrabi remains tender and buttery-soft. Certified Organic
  • A Czech heirloom cordon variety, highly recommended by many who have grown it over the years. It is a very reliable, good cropper, ripening quite early with an abundance of medium-sized, round, tangy red fruits. Grows outside as well as under cover. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A classic Italian variety, the plants form a bush which remains compact through the growing season. This is a very productive cropper, producing fruits well into October here in Capparoe. The fruits display distinctive long, alternating olive and deep-green stripes, which become more prominent as the fruits mature. The courgettes have a delicious fresh flavour, smooth skin, and flesh that remains nice and firm when cooked. Certified Organic
  • This seed of Norwegian origin will produce a diverse range of onion shapes, sizes and colours. Expect to obtain a richly diverse, healthy crop of round to slightly flattened onions with colours ranging from light-gold and copper to purple. Well suited to our short growing season and temperate climate.
  • The name ‘Stamme’ translates from Norwegian to ‘strength and rootedness’ and indeed these onions do very well in our short, often cool summers. Upon grow-outs we found the crop to be of mixed types and we have been selecting out different strains for subsequent grow outs. This variety has golden, globe-shaped bulbs. You might observe a few in your population that display other traits (e.g. slightly red skin/flesh or more flattened bulbs) if some of the dominant genes re-present themselves. Fancy a spot of plant breeding for the home gardener? Starting your own line?
  • The original seed of this variety came to us from local educator and active community man, Pearse O’Shiel, who himself got them from a Slovenian market. The plants produce delightful peach and red flowers, which make way for medium-sized pods that contain an average of four seeds per pod. The tasty pods when mature contain attractive bean seeds that are speckled and buff-brown in colour. Certified Organic
  • Shungiku

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    A spectacular display of yellow and orange flowers in early summer. Very attractive to bees, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects. Also used widely in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese dishes, lightly cooked in soups, stews, and hotpots giving a unique aromatic flavour. Certified Organic
  • This is a very popular overwintering onion from Japan. The big, delicious, golden bulbs of this variety store exceptionally well, up to a year. Perfect for roasting and soups. Certified Organic
  • This is the oldest known local vegetable variety in Scotland, grown on the Shetland Isles since as far back as the 1500s. Due to the extreme weather on the Shetlands, the cabbage seeds were planted in “Plantie Crubs” (small circular stone-walled enclosures) before transplanting into larger fields, which were also enclosed in stone walls. This rare cabbage grew beautifully on a windy hillside in Clare, hardy right through the winter. The heads of this variety are quite open, the green leaves tinged a beautiful pink-purple, deepening as winter progresses. The outer leaves were traditionally used as animal feed. The cabbage itself has a distinctive peppery taste that was once a prized ingredient of mutton stew on the Northern Isles.
  • 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.
  • A very productive conically-shaped beetroot. The flesh of the blood-red roots is juicy and intense, and remains tender and sweet even when the roots have grown large.
  • Salsify

    3.50
    A somewhat forgotten, mild-flavoured root vegetable highly deserved of attention. Opinions vary on taste ranging from Oyster-like to Asparagus or Artichoke. The wild crop relative of this cultivated crop was gathered by the Greeks and Romans for medicinal use for liver and gallbladder treatments and it was a staple on Victorian dinner plates. Michel Roux Jr, the Michelin-starred chef said: “Salsify is one of the most versatile and tasty root vegetables – from raw in coleslaw to roasted with spices. Truly delicious.” Also, a wonderful plant to have in the garden, growing to 100cm, for its beautiful edible purple flowers blooming from spring to autumn. Attractive to wildlife. Certified Organic
  • Delicious and very sweet when harvested young, amazing long pods with lots of peas, (10-12 per pod). This seed variety came to us via a Seed Savers organisation in the Czech Republic. We carried out a successful trial grow-out in 2019 and then handed them over to one of our trusty seed guardians, Mona, who did a bigger grow out to bulk up stock. Growing to 6ft high, they also stood well through wet and windy weather, remaining strong and vigorous.

    Certified Organic

  • ‘Runde Kugel’ translates from German simply as ‘round ball’. Deep red in colour with a delicious fruity and mild taste. Particularly good raw in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • A Swiss ‘ruby’ variety, this lettuce has an upright habit and a loose head of stunning, deep maroon leaves. A reliable, cold-hardy plant, excellent as a ‘cut and come’ variety.
    Certified Organic.
  • This globe-shaped beetroot gets its name from the Italian word ‘rotonda’ meaning ‘round’. Even when the roots grow quite large they maintain their juicy sweetness, with a distinct earthy flavour.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A fabulous cordon variety giving masses of trusses, with cherry tomatoes that are rosy pink/purple with a smoky blush. The superb flavour is a lovely balance of sweetness and tanginess. It won the RHS award in 2017 as a ‘high yielding nice-sized cherry tomato with good taste’, and topped the polls at the Irish Seed Savers annual summer tasting session. Given support and grown under cover, the prolific plants at Capparoe have produced delicious fruits into late October. Certified Organic
  • A good, all-round, vigorous variety. The round, globe-shaped roots have smooth skin, deep dark coloured flesh and a nice fruity taste, good for eating fresh and storage. Because of its sweet flavour it is especially delicious eaten raw, though also perfect for roasting, soups and stews. Certified Organic
  • A vigorous, robust red onion. Dark round-flat bulbs. Matures quite early and is very productive, also stores very well for a red onion if kept under optimal conditions (cool, dark and dry environment). Certified Organic
  • A beautiful and unusual variety with its distinctive red stalks and bright green leaves. This robust celery, more tender and juicy than might be expected from a red variety, is lovely addition to the garden. The stunning burgundy stalks are perfect in soups and salads, and retain their colour even after cooking. Certified Organic
  • A brilliant-red, frilly loose leaved variety brings an eye-catching addition to your mixed salad bowl. Certified Organic
  • A very tender and tasty Russian heritage variety. Big oak shaped leaves develop a beautiful red tinge, especially as the cold season develops. Exceptionally resistant to cold weather, this hardy variety is a beautiful and reliable plant to have in the garden.
  • Long Red Florence, also known as Italian Red Torpedo, is an Italian heirloom originating from Tuscany sometime in the 1800s. This variety is known for its long purple-red ‘torpedo’ shaped bulbs, which have a delicious mild, sweet flavour. Can be used raw in salads as well as cooked. Certified Organic
  • From the North of Chile, ‘Red Faro’ is both productive and attractive with red-pink foliage and cream seed heads. Less prone to mold and suitable for our cool, damper climate. Certified Organic
  • This tall, vigorous variety has attractive white flowers, followed by lots of green pods containing bright chestnut/red beans – 5 or 6 to a pod. The beans retain their gorgeous colour when lightly cooked and are perfect for making into hummous, as well as soups and stews. Certified Organic
  • Red Campion

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)

    This lovely tall flower likes shadier conditions such as hedgerows, woods and grassy banks. The attractive, pink-red, 5-petalled flowers are 2-3cm across and bloom from May to September. The plants themselves can grow quite large – from 30cm to 1m in height. Seeds are best started in pots, left to overwinter outside, and planted out in plugs in the spring.  As this species is dioecious (with male and female flowers on separate plants) it is important to grow out both males and females if you want the plants to self-seed (which they do readily!), or otherwise select only males to limit the spread.

    Certified Organic

  • This quinoa variety has a mix of the many colours of different types of quinoa: tan, red, orange and black. These plants make a stunning addition to any garden with their bright and colourful seedheads, not to mention the nutritional powerhouse of the seeds. Each colour has a slightly different attribute – sweeter, nuttier or chewier - we hope you enjoy them all! Certified Organic
  • A beautiful plant to have in any garden, this variety is a prolific producer of succulent, deep purple broccoli spears. When sown in late spring or early summer the tasty spears can be harvested from February the following year. Certified Organic
  • Purple Poppy

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    A large, handsome and cheery poppy, with lilac petals that form dark patches at the base. The leaves are lobed and wrinkled, the stems a beautiful bluish green. They produce large seed capsules, and the attractive seed heads make great additions to dried flower arrangements. Super easy to save the seeds.
  • This variety gets its name from an order of monks in Holland who have long been custodians of diverse fruit and vegetables. A tall, vigorous plant (up to 2m), so needs good support. It has beautiful pink/white flowers and attractive deep-purple pods. At the ‘Scoil Chroi’ school garden in Galway, students especially enjoyed the purple peas dried for soup. Certified Organic
  • Poppy Mix

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    This is a mix of poppies in various shades of colour: pink, magenta, mauve and purple. Some have frilly petals or double blooms! Easy to grow, this flower is best direct sown. Self-seeds easily if the stunning mature seed heads have been left to develop. Certified Organic
  • This seed from Poland was collected by the German gene-bank at Gatersleben. A cordon variety that produces quantities of small gold, thin-skinned plum tomatoes, still delicious even in November. Stephen Carrington in Wicklow was still harvesting a few in January from a polytunnel! Growing outdoors as well as under cover, this sweet, mild tomato is a lovely addition to any garden.
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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