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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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
    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
  • 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
    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
  • 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
  • This translates simply as ‘Round ball’, deep red in colour with a delicious fruity, mild taste particularly good in salads.
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Swiss Ruby variety which is very cold hardy, with an upright habit and a loose head of deep maroon leaves, excellent for cut and come the year round.
    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
  • A variety of very old heritage dating back to the 1800’s, originating in Egypt. Vilmorin in his crop descriptions in 1885 states ‘Exceedingly early variety, best of all early kitchen garden kinds’ This is echoed in modern times by gardener Bob Flowerdew proclaiming it to have ‘the best flavour’. Early maturing, smooth skin on wide roots, deep crimson/purple flesh both sweet and tender. Very popular among the staff taste tests. Grows above the ground so easy to pull for harvest.
    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. Has also fruited well outdoors in the past. 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
  • On a visit to the Eden project in Cornwall, Jo Newton (Seed Curator) saw this bush tomato growing outdoors, the friend with her was reminded of seeing it growing and tasting it in a walled garden in Brighton when she was a child and remembered the name it being quite unusual. Jo liberated a couple of fruit and we have since sown and grown the crop. A sprawly bush that gives a huge amount of scarlet, juicy fruit small, medium, mild fresh tangy flavour that ripen early. It turns out Mrs Ruck was the last lady of Audley End Estate in Essex (now managed by English heritage) and had passed on the seed when she moved away. Certified Organic
  • We had seven seeds in a packet from the German gene bank, dated 1999, the place of origin, Sweden, the description ‘vegetable marrow’. The six that germinated grew amazingly well, quickly covering an entire bed in the tunnel with their small tasty courgette and also good as the more traditional marrow.
    Certified Organic
  • A prolific producer of succulent broccoli spears when sown late Spring/early Summer for harvest from February the following year.
  • A lovely large loose curled green leafy lettuce with very crunchy leaves of great texture. Especially good addition to a salad mix. Grows well year round. Donated to us by supporter Steven Marsh.
    Certified Organic.
  • The leaves of this variety, (from the 1800’s) are indeed ‘dagger’ like, narrow, long and graceful, purple-red in colour with a metallic lustre. They grow in a thick cluster and picked for a beautiful addition to the salad bowl. The roots are long, smooth and spindle shaped with blood red tender flesh. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Originally from the small town of San Marzano Dul Sarno near Napoli and first grown in the volcanic soils of Mt Vesuvius. It is a late plum variety, long, thin pointed fruit with a sweet, strong taste.It is ideal for sauce as it is meatier, has fewer seeds and lower acidity than many other plum types. Certified Organic
  • A rare variety from Switzerland going back to 1912. This climbing bean produces many quite short, wide, flat pods that can be eaten green. Left to mature, the beautiful two-colour dark red and white beans develop, which are delicious when podded and cooked.
  • Salsify

    2.95
    This is a root vegetable that goes back to the middle ages. Pulled in winter it has long tapering roots with a distinct flavour, similar to oysters, delicious in a vegetable stew. If left in the ground, the flower is the ornamental gardeners best kept secret as all summer long they bloom with brilliant purple large daisy like flowers. The seed heads are puff balls that shine as golden orbs in sun- shine. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This tomato variety comes from Siberia. It germinates at low temperatures and grows well in cool conditions. The large, slightly flattened fruits are red, juicy and ripen early. The bushes are quite large and so benefit from some sort of support. We trialled some plants outside in addition to those we grew under cover and they performed extremely well ripening sooner than those indoors. Certified Organic
  • Delicious, smooth, round gold roots with sweet flavoured bright yellow flesh, the colour retained even when cooked. This variety has been ‘rebred’ from old seed stocks to create this vigorous, quick growing brilliant yellow beet.
    Certified Organic
  • ‘Heavy cropping yellow pencil pod type beans, virtually string-less with excellent flavour’ says supporter Liam Gaffney who sent in seed for us to trial and save. Certified Organic
  • Given to Doris Fortune (hence the name) by the head gardener at Windsor, then to the Heritage Seed Library. This lovely climber has pale blue flowers, smooth green and blue/purple mottled pods that darken as they mature. Stringless pods, a delicious fresh shelling bean or also good dried. 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 a wonderful lettuce bred by Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon. A large loose leaf but upright cos type head perfect for ‘cutting and coming again’. It is outrageously red, a colourful addition to salad. Hardy over Winter, also good for Spring sowing.
    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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