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

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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
  • 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
  • Out of stock

    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
  • This variety is a French heirloom also known as ‘Brown Spanish’, a standard variety in Europe for over 200 years. It was said by ‘Vilmorin in 1855 in his famous book ‘Les Plantes Potageres’, ‘That the winter supply of onions for Paris and Europe consists chiefly of this variety’. Now it is rare and very hard to find. The onion is a productive early cropper with flat bulbs up to 10cm across, Full of flavour, brown/copper skin and keeps well.
    Certified Organic
  • A hardy annual, with characteristic pungent leaves used in salads, curries and pickles. This variety was brought to us from the Kenyan seed savers in 2017. Very vigorous and easy to grow. For a constant supply sow direct, little and often from early spring. Coriander has a long history of use. Seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. These days the seeds have been found helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Certified Organic
  • This translates as ‘curled, dark green’ an accurate description of this old French variety. The tightly curled leaves are held clear of the ground on long stalks for clean and easy harvest. Certified Organic
  • Flat leaf heirloom parsley from Italy, with early seedling vigour and prolific, strong growing, large, open plants. High yielding dark green, lush leaves with rich, sweet flavour. The thick stalks can be eaten like celery.
  • Good hardy landrace parsley from an Armenian market place (as the name suggests). Flat-leaved, with great flavour and hardy large clumps. We picked from the outdoor plants all through the winter. Certified Organic
  • A traditional French cultivar grown in the alluvial plains of the Seine in Normandy. It has short, chunky stems and lovely bright green foliage, good for autumn and winter harvesting.
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Mizuna

    2.95
    A Japanese green that grows as a large rosette of finely lobed leaves, crisp with a characteristic peppery flavour that spices up a salad and can also be used in stir fry. To have a continuous supply of young leaves keep cutting regularly. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This one captured the interest of many visitors. Brilliant emerald green leaves with curly, serrated-edges - most attractive. A great flavour with the distinct mustard hot tang. It can be used in salads or cooked. Its very hardy and can be grown outdoors all winter as well as under cover, with a long growing season. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This variety has been maintained by three generations of the Sweeney family from Gortahork village in Donegal, the original seed was brought back from Scotland by Owen Sweeney in 1910 and saved ever since. A distinct landrace, large drumhead winter hardy cabbage with excellent flavour.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A fine sturdy heirloom variety, with long, deep green leaves, juicy white stems, giving a fresh taste to salad and stir fry. Certified Organic
  • Beautiful dark green savoy heads of medium size cabbage that are winter hardy, grown out from the native Irish collection.
    Certified Organic
  • A lovely ornamental mustard leaf, with deeply serrated leaves, flashed deep with purple-magenta veining. Quite a tender mild mustard flavour to liven up salads, and good for steaming or stir fry. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    Salad Mix

    2.95
    A mix of lush cut-n-come varieties of salads. Including lettuce, corn salad, mustard leaves, pac choi, endive, shungiku and herbs. Certified Organic
  • A surprise in the salad bowl – flavoursome serrated leaves that taste somewhere between celery and carrots. Grows well over winter under cover and also provides a spectacular display of yellow and orange flowers in early summer that are a big hit with the bees, hoverflies and other beneficial insects as well as visitors – delightful. Certified Organic
  • This is the oldest known local vegetable variety in Scotland, grown on the Shetland Isles possibly since the 1500’s. The heads are quite open, the green leaves tinged a beautiful pink-purple, deepening as winter progresses. The outer dropped leaves where traditionally used as animal feed. Due to the extreme weather on the Shetlands, the cabbage seeds used to be planted in “Plantie Crubs”, small circular stone walled enclosures before transplanting into larger fields also enclosed in stone walls. This rare cabbage grew beautifully on a windy hillside in Clare, hardy right through the winter, the cabbage itself has a distinctive peppery taste that was once a prized ingredient of mutton stew on the Northern Isles.
  • 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
  • From our native Irish collection, these particular Spring cabbages were grown and collected in and around Cork city. Lush tender greens and small pointed heads all through spring. Will produce even in hard winters. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • A productive plant of succulent red stalks, much more juicy and tender than expected from a red variety. Unusual looking with deep red stems with bright green leaves. The stalks retain their colour when cooked. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A variety that goes back to 1871, this is a great winter vegetable with good sized, globed roots and white flesh. Very tasty in soups and stews or even roasted, with that distinctive ‘celery’ flavour. Certified Organic
  • A rare, old variety of open-pollinated parsnip. Large broad roots with smooth white skin, utterly delicious when roasted. Very good canker resistance. John, a local grower, reported excellent tolerance to the cold – in the ‘big freeze’ of a few winters ago, after removing the soil on top with a pick axe, he was able to pull perfectly clean parsnip from the frozen ground with no effort – and delighted in their sweet, delicious flavour. Nicky Griffin sows in May, 3 seeds per station, 15cm apart. Some roots reached 3lb in weight, the size of a mans hand across but retained the excellent flavour. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Introduced to the market in 1861 selected from wild stock or ‘ennobled’ by a Professor at Cirencester Agricultural College. It was then taken up by Suttons. This long cultivated variety has long tapering roots of good size and pleasant flavour. 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
  • Another rare old variety coming originally from an heirloom collection from Seeds by Size in England. Long tapering roots, sweet to eat and very hardy.
  • Out of stock
    A mix of different varieties of kale, cut and come greens and mustard leaves that can be sown often and used when small for baby leaf tangy salad leaves or thinned out and left to mature for delicious, nutritious winter greens.
  • Very tender and mild, a pre 1885 heirloom variety. Big oak shaped leaves can have a red tinge especially after frost, very tender with great flavour.
  • Compact plants with lots of tender curled green leaves that keep going all winter. One of the hardiest kales, leaves sweetening after frost. Grown by Jason, market gardener and seed guardian, who said customers found it very tasty and he could barely keep up with demand at the market. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Very productive 1m high kale originating in the west of France prior to 1865, known as ‘Branching Borecole’. Easy to grow, plain leaf kale with spreading foliage. Winter hardy, particularly suited to our climate, reliable 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
  • Out of stock
    This carrot came out of the Czech gene bank, bred in the 1940s, a time of expert plant breeding. These deliciously flavoursome and very juicy carrots grow to a medium sized main crop.
  • Out of stock
    Delicious vibrant golden-yellow carrot with crisp smooth flesh. It comes originally from the Limburg province in the Netherlands. Grows vigorously from a spring sowing and good for winter storage. It is also proven by some gardeners to be less prone to carrot root fly than the orange varieties. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • 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
  • Out of stock
    This great cauliflower was collected in Co. Dublin in 1982 from an elderly farmer and produces magnificent curds. Kim Tyler told us ‘It is super reliable year after year, can’t remember when I received seed from you but it’s the only cauliflower I grow now it’s so good!’ Sow July/ August and plant out in September for an early crop the following spring; can also be grown in tunnels over winter for an even earlier crop.
    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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