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

  • 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
  • A prolific producer of succulent broccoli spears when sown late Spring/early Summer for harvest from February the following year.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Very productive ‘blood’ red conical beetroot with juicy, intense flesh that remains tender and sweet even when quite large.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This is a selection from ‘Scarlet’ runner, so the plants have the same attributes. However, this variety produces beautiful dark lustrous beans which can be dried and used in soups and stews. Occasionally a plant may revert back to its origin giving you the more common mauve/black beans! Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    Love in a Mist

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    Dates to English gardens since 1570. An easy to grow border flower with lovely, wispy, feathery foliage and attractive flowers in mauve/blue/white shades. Interesting seed heads that can be dried and the plentiful seeds can be used as a spice, sometimes as a replacement for black cumin. Self-seeds easily. 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.
  • Reliable bush type, with an open habit, thus easy to harvest he many shiny dark green slightly marbled fruits over a long season.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Also known as bird’s beak chilli and Chile de árbol (Tree Chilli, in Spanish). Plants grow quite tall so need some space but they reward the gardener with a great crop of medium hot chillies, 10,000 to 30,000 on the Scoville scale. The peppers start out green and turn a bright red color as they mature. Certified Organic
  • This variety of Italian heritage, was named after a 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 ‘crumpled’, bright, lush green leaves and white stalks that can be almost like asparagus when cooked. Young flowering stalks in Spring can be used like sprouting broccoli. It has the seal of approval from Scoil Chroi, Galway, ‘Lucullus a big hit with students of all ages, they loved it devouring it raw.’
    Certified Organic
  • ‘The Rose from Bern’ is a Swiss heirloom well suited to cooler climes. A cordon type producing thin skinned round pink/ red fruit quite large and fleshy that are utterly juicy and delicious. Seed Guardian Mona has been growing this one for years as her family favourite to eat fresh, sliced and cooked, reliable and versatile. 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
    This is an extraordinary pepper, Klari being the name of the woman who maintained this ancient variety in Hungary. The fruit resembles a small round of cheese, looking more like tomatoes than peppers, produced in great abundance on compact plants. They benefit from some support. The fruit size ranges from small, like cherry tomatoes up to 100g, the colour from creamy-yellow to pale green to brilliant red. The flesh is very thick, creamy and sweet, delicious raw or cooked, perfect for stuffed peppers. 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
  • The seed for this cabbage came from a project in the 1980's, 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 late-spring it produces mighty heads, light green in colour. Over-wintered well and in fact some heads were still compact and harvestable well into the following season, even as we were harvesting seed from neighbouring plants. Very useful genetic diversity! Certified Organic
  • Beautiful dark green savoy heads of medium size cabbage that are winter hardy, grown out from the native Irish collection.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A landrace from Guatemala. These are mixed beans with three distinct coloured beans…white/cream, speckled brown, or speckled black and pink. The flowers also have beautiful different colours; red, white and peach. Strong, healthy plants produce enormous numbers of very sweet and tender runner beans, both long and short, which are delicious if left to ripen and then shelled. They also grow well outdoors and have been one of our most consistently popular crops. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    An heirloom from Italy also called ‘Nero di Milano’, with cylindrical, smooth, dark green fruits best eaten about 15cm long. It is a bush variety with open growth and is quite early maturing. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A Scottish heritage variety with long slim pods packed full with up to 11 peas with outstanding flavour, remaining sweet even when quite mature. It was once a very popular variety with exhibitors with such ‘perfect’ pods. Grows quite tall, up to 1.5m and is very productive. Has become famous since Monty Don pronounced it one of his favourites on a television gardening programme.
  • Out of stock

    Morning Glory

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    Twining climber with heart-shaped lobed bright green leaves. Big funnel shaped flowers of an intense, vibrant purple that keep opening all summer into autumn. Can grow to over 4m high and flowers best with some protection.   Certified Organic
  • Woad

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    Woad has been used for centuries to obtain a blue dye, it is said a hundred weight of leaves yields 10 lbs of dye and is quite an elaborate process to extract. However, it is easy to grow this ancient plant and, as Richard Mabey describes in one of his books, ‘worth having in the garden’. An attractive plant with 1m high stems, long succulent leaves which shine like stained glass, with inner blue; foamy clusters and brilliant-yellow flowers. Pendant fiddle shaped seeds which may also turn blue/purple in wet weather. Certified Organic
  • These seeds came originally from Hopi Elders, the history of this corn goes back to the Anasazi people some 500 years ago. The seed corn was found in clay pots, hence the name. It grows very tall in the tunnel and gives large cobs of varying stunning colours from violet and black to shades of red, yellow, gold and cream truly as beautiful as jewels. This corn is a maize type, more for grinding into flour than eating as a sweet ‘corn on the cob’.
  • Out of stock
    A red coloured Irish heritage variety dating back to the early 1900’s. Stout plants producing early yielding, juicy & sweet, medium-sized fruit. Cropped very well even in very wet, cool conditions. 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
  • Introduced in 1911, this old variety has semi globe roots and smooth dark red skin. Deep red flesh and glossy leaves that can make good greens. It matures early but also a single sowing can be harvested over a long period. Here are descriptions from the staff who tried a taste test - ‘moist, mouthwatering, sweet, juicy and tender’.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    French Honeysuckle

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A hardy perennial, once seen never forgotten! 1m high open bush with silver rimmed leaves and fantastic, fragrant, dense spikes of crimson red flowers, rich in nectar and exotic in appearance. Best grown in a sunny position but likes moist soil and is also nitrogen fixing.   Certified Organic
  • 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
  • Out of stock
    A cordon-variety that gives masses of trusses of rosy pink/purple cherry tomatoes with a smoky blush. A superb flavour with 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’.
  • Out of stock
    A dependable cropper of rich sweet fruits even in cool summers. The plants are compact but productive (equal or better than many F1 hybrid types). They ripen to a beautiful glossy deep red and are delicious both raw and cooked. 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
  • This variety was a stalwart amongst gardeners for a long time. Originally a breeding line from the National Vegetable Research Station in England.  It is an early, prolific root, with lovely dark colour and excellent taste and cooking qualities. Can last well into winter. 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
  • Gorgeous deep purple leaves and stalks; this stunning chard is from a Canadian organic seed company in Ontario. 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
  • Out of stock
    Bred in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas this tomato is regarded as one of the tastiest heirlooms. Clusters of 5 - 9 fruit the size of a large cherry ripen up the vine over a long season. Red, sweet and juicy, productive and with some disease resistance. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • This pea came from Patrick Carruthers in Co. Down and has been grown and saved there for 25 years. Grows up to 1.6m, lovely magnenta-purple flowers which produce the colourful purple pods. The peas are lovely to eat fresh when young but are also great to allow to mature and dry for a winter storage pea. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    Elephant Amaranth

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    This is a plant with character and striking beauty. A Heirloom that went to the USA with German immigrants in 1880, but is in fact an ancient grain of both the far East and the Aztecs. The name Amaranth actually comes from the Greek for ‘everlasting’.It can grow up to 1.5 m tall, thick maroon red flower stalk that looks like an upraised elephant trunk, from whence the name comes. As well as a stunning flower display , the young leaves are edible and late in the season will give a plentiful amount of nutritious high protein seeds. 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.
  • First listed in a catalogue in 1885, this winter storage radish is still going strong. The long, cylindrical roots have the most beautiful purple skin and mild sweet white flesh. Certified Organic
  • This is an old-type white-carrot first established in Europe in the 15th century. These were once very common until the introduction of orange carrots. They can grow quite large and have a subtle earthy flavour. Now quite scarce these old white varieties can often be mistaken for parsnips
  • Out of stock
    A Dutch heritage variety from the province of Groningen. It has unusual pure white flowers which smell wonderful. Medium pods packed with beans growing up the whole stem, thus very productive. Good for both autumn and 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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