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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  • 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
  • Out of stock

    Woad

    3.25 (3.25 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
  • 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
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    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
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    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
  • Out of stock
    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
  • 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
  • Out of stock
    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
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    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
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    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.
  • Out of stock
    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
  • Out of stock
    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.
  • Shungiku

    3.25 (3.25 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 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

    2.95
    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
  • ‘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
  • Out of stock
    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.
  • Out of stock
    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
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    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 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
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    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
  • Out of stock
    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.
  • 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 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
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    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
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    Purple Poppy

    3.25 (3.25 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.
  • Out of stock

    Poppy Mix

    3.25 (3.25 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.
  • Out of stock
    This is a wonderful lettuce bred by Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon. A large, upright, loose-leaf cos type head, perfect for ‘cutting and coming again’. It is indeed outrageously red, a colourful addition to salad. Hardy over winter, also good for spring sowing. As well as being grown at Capparoe, this variety has the claim-to-fame of being the first vegetable grown and eaten on the International Space Station!
    Certified Organic.
  • Out of stock
    A Dutch heritage variety from the Groningen province. It produces unusual pure-white fragrant flowers, followed by medium-sized pods containing tender beans that grow up the whole stem. Unusual pure-white fragrant flowers, followed by medium-sized pods. Certified Organic
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    Oeillet Gem Tagetes-Marigold

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    The flowers of this variety are yellow and orange in colour, blooming abundantly from July until the first frost. This is an edible variety, with lovely tangerine-scented leaves and flowers making a tasty addition to salads, soups, desserts and teas. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    An Irish Flax cultivar presumed from the North of Ireland, repatriated from the Vavilov Institute for Plant Genetic Resources in Russia c2000. This variety has been successfully regenerated four-fold since it arrived in our care; Here at Capparoe, and also grown as part of an on-farm trial in Kilkenny, at Airfield Estate in Dundrum, Dublin and by Helen Keys and Charlie Mallon as part of their regenerative farming practices at Mallon Farm where they have grown, processed and woven the flax (with other varieties) by hand to create precious pieces of history. Flax is part of our deep cultural heritage and is so giving, flowers, fiber and food. Grows to 80cm, 5 seed heads per plant. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This one captured the interest of many of our visitors. It is very hardy and can be grown outdoors all winter as well as under cover, with a long growing season. Brilliant, emerald-green leaves with curly, serrated edges are a most attractive addition to the garden. This variety has a great flavour, with a distinct mustardy-hot tang, able to be used in salads or cooked. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This lovely bush variety presents a huge amount of scarlet small-to-medium, juicy fruit. An early ripener, their flavour is mild, fresh, and tangy. An early ripener.  Mrs. Ruck was a lady of Audley End Estate in Essex (now managed by English Heritage) and had passed on the seed when she moved away. Our seed came to us via the Eden Project in Cornwall. Certified Organic
  • A traditional French cultivar, grown originally in the alluvial plains of the Seine River in Normandy. It has quite short, wide, chunky stems, and lovely bright green foliage. Good for autumn harvesting, this flavoursome leek is well worth growing.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    Mizuna

    2.95
    A Japanese green that grows as a large rosette of finely lobed leaves, crisp with a characteristic peppery flavour. To have a continuous supply of young leaves keep cutting regularly. Can be used to spice up a salad or be used in stir fry. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This visually stunning and delicious chard is from an organic seed company in 'Ontario, Canada'. Gorgeous deep burgundy leaves and deep purple and orange stalks are plentiful throughout the growing season. A lovely addition to salads and soups. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    McAnallen Sunflower

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    This is a remarkably large and robust sunflower. With food or oil crops in mind for the future this variety has serious potential. It is a striking and lovely plant, and also supports hordes of pollinator insects and birdlife. These flowers have been a gorgeous talking point in the Seed Savers gardens over the summers. Kindly donated by Brendan (RIP) & Bridget McAnallen of Co. Tyrone.
  • Out of stock
    The seed for this cabbage came from a project in the 1980s that involved collecting ‘on-farm saved’ seed crop varieties. This particular ‘common’ or large headed Dutch-type came from farms in Knocknakillew, near Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Sown in late spring it produces mighty heads, light green in colour. It over-wintered well, in fact some heads were still compact and harvestable well into the following season! Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This Northern Irish heritage variety is 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! Probably the same cultivar as Major Dunne, based on observation trials. Certified Organic
  • Translating from Latin as ‘Great Good’, this pea has been around since 1872, and for good reason. Described as a ‘willing giant of a pea, brimming with health and large, luscious pods’. Tall vines of up to 1.8m produce large double pods bursting with flavoursome peas. The peas are sweet when young, and when older are perfect puréed with a touch of mint. Certified Organic  
  • Out of stock
    A red-coloured Irish heritage variety dating back to the early 1900s. Stout, compact plants producing early yielding, juicy, sweet, medium-sized fruit. Cropped very well even in very wet, cool conditions. Certified Organic
  • This variety is of Italian heritage and was named after the Roman General ‘Lucius Luccullus’, renowned for his splendid banquets and vast gardens some 2000 years ago. It was introduced in 1914 and won the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Quite hardy through the winter, with heavily ‘crimped’, bright, lush green leaves and white stalks that are almost like asparagus when cooked. Young flowering stalks in spring can be eaten like sprouting broccoli. It has the seal of approval from ‘Scoil Chroi’, in Galway who shared that “Lucullus was a big hit with students of all ages, they loved it, devouring it raw”.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    These fruits ripen to a beautiful, glossy, deep red, and are delicious both raw and cooked. A very dependable cropper, rich and sweet even in cool summers. The plants are compact but productive (equal to or better than many F1 hybrid types).  Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This yellow variety was donated to us by enthusiastic seed-saver Jaap Vlaming, and comes originally from the Limburg province of the Netherlands. It grows vigorously from a spring sowing and is good for winter storage. It is proven by some gardeners that this variety less prone to carrot root fly than the orange varieties. The vibrant, golden-yellow roots have crisp smooth flesh, and are delicious cooked or raw. Certified Organic
  • The seeds of this variety were brought back to Irish Seed Savers from an international slow-food gathering in Turin, Italy. A vigorous, hardy crop, with wonderfully large, light green leaves.
  • Out of stock
    Kuttiger is an old-type white carrot, first established in Europe in the 15th century. Now quite scarce, these types were very commonly grown until the introduction of orange carrots. With its snowy-white colour, broad shoulders, and stocky shape, this variety could be mistaken for a parsnip in appearance, though in taste it still has the mild and subtly earthy flavour of a carrot.
  • Out of stock
    One of our most popular varieties, repatriated from the Vavilov Gene Bank in Russia. The plants grow up to 1.5m, so need good support. They produce an abundance of delicious sweet, round peas, 6-8 per pod, described by many as ‘a wonderful crop’. The plants have good mildew resistance and are less prone to sprouting in the pod during a wet summer. Certified Organic
  • This variety was repatriated from the Vavilov Institute for Plant Genetic Resources in Russia, and, as is the norm with most gene banks, background information is scant and we haven't been able to locate any references to this particular variety to-date. We have however unearthed the root of the expression "tow-head" or "toe-head," which was used to describe a person with blond hair; it comes from the name for the fine, oft-tangled fibers left behind in the hackles, when processing flax into linen! The familiar wispy blue flowers of this variety transform into beautiful golden orbs full of plump, nutritious seeds. It's very easy to grow and to save the seeds if you're happy to share some with the birds who have that inherent ability to determine the optimum time for seed maturation! Grows to 80cm, 5 seed heads per plant. Sow: March/April Certified Organic
  • Wonderful vigorous mustard greens with lush big, brilliant-green leaves. The flavour of these leaves is delicious and not too strong compared with other more pungent mustards. Especially nice steamed and served with a lemon juice and soya sauce dressing. Certified Organic
  • This prolific dwarf variety produces uniform plants with lovely yellow pods and wonderfully golden/brown beans when mature. The young pods can be steamed or stir-fried, and the mature beans can be cooked up in soups or stews.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A hardy annual, with characteristic pungent leaves used in salads, curries and pickles. This variety was bought to us from the ‘Kenyan Seed Savers’, very vigorous and easy to grow. For a constant supply sow direct, sparsely and often from early spring onwards. ANNUAL Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A variety that goes back to 1871, this is a great winter vegetable with good sized, globed roots and creamy-white flesh. Very tasty in soups and stews or even roasted, with a distinctive ‘celery’ flavour. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    We had seven seeds in a packet from a German gene bank, dated 1999 with the place of origin given as Sweden, the description ‘vegetable marrow’. The plants grew amazingly well, quickly covering an entire bed in the tunnel with their small, tasty courgettes, though this crop comes into its own as the more traditional marrow.
    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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