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 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
  • Bi-colour orange/yellow streaked red beefsteak like fruits, though range in size, medium-large. Incredibly beautiful and have sweet, utterly delicious meaty flesh with low acidity. Very, very productive continuing to fruit well into late Autumn. Old American heirloom from West Virginia dating from the 1880’s. 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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