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 2023 Heirloom Seed Catalogue

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  • Quinoa has been cultivated for about 5000 years and is indigenous to the Andean region of South America. This variety named after the city of Temuco in the Araucanía Region of southern Chile is a surprisingly easy and trouble-free crop. Direct sown in drills in April, it grew up to 1.5m tall, harvested in early September. A very nutritious crop, high in protein and essential amino acids. The seed contains bitter saponins (a chemical defense against birds), which needs to be washed out before use. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • This is a vigorous, thick-stemmed variety. Reaching heights of 2.5-3m, adequate support is definitely required for this robust pea. Lovely white flowers and soft marbled green leaves develop as the plant grows, giving way to a plethora of pods. Highly productive, with pods containing an average of 8 large peas developing well into the season. The peas are delicious – very sweet and crunchy when raw, softening after cooking. If you have the space, this is a highly recommended variety to grow. Certified Organic
  • Coming Soon
    Given to us in 2019 by Liam Gaffney, this seed originally comes from Alleppo, Syria. The plants have a climbing habit and so benefit from support as they grow. Best to wear gloves when pruning the plants – the leaves and stems have a prickliness characteristic of many cucurbits. Yellow flowers give way to lovely green, cylindrical, juicy fruits, which should be harvested when at their optimum 12cm length. This variety has high praise from Adam Alexander of Garden Organic, who says that of all the cucumbers he has ever grown this is the finest tasting. Certified Organic
  • Sweet Pea

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    This tall, climbing sweet pea has traditional old-fashioned mix of pink, white, mauve and purple colours, and that most lovely evocative fragrance. Best given support to get the most out of this lovely flower. Certified Organic
  • This lovely herb produces clear lemon-yellow flower heads, which are highly attractive to insects. It is very easy to grow, and its fern-like, aromatic leaves are perfect for salads, with fish, pickles and sauces. The seeds can also be harvested and used for flavouring, particularly along with gherkins. Certified Organic
  • 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.
  • 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
  • A Czech heirloom cordon variety, highly recommended by many who have grown it over the years. It is a very reliable, good cropper, ripening quite early with an abundance of medium-sized, round, tangy red fruits. Grows outside as well as under cover. Certified Organic
  • A classic Italian variety, the plants form a bush which remains compact through the growing season. This is a very productive cropper, producing fruits well into October here in Capparoe. The fruits display distinctive long, alternating olive and deep-green stripes, which become more prominent as the fruits mature. The courgettes have a delicious fresh flavour, smooth skin, and flesh that remains nice and firm when cooked. Certified Organic
  • 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.
  • The name ‘Stamme’ translates from Norwegian to ‘strength and rootedness’ and indeed these onions do very well in our short, often cool summers. Upon grow-outs we found the crop to be of mixed types and we have been selecting out different strains for subsequent grow outs. This variety has golden, globe-shaped bulbs. You might observe a few in your population that display other traits (e.g. slightly red skin/flesh or more flattened bulbs) if some of the dominant genes re-present themselves. Fancy a spot of plant breeding for the home gardener? Starting your own line?
  • The original seed of this variety came to us from local educator and active community man, Pearse O’Shiel, who himself got them from a Slovenian market. The plants produce delightful peach and red flowers, which make way for medium-sized pods that contain an average of four seeds per pod. The tasty pods when mature contain attractive bean seeds that are speckled and buff-brown in colour. Certified Organic
  • Shungiku

    3.75 (3.75 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 a very popular overwintering onion from Japan. The big, delicious, golden bulbs of this variety store exceptionally well, up to a year. Perfect for roasting and soups. 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

    3.50
    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
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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