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

  • Called also ‘Mexican Banana’ and ‘Plymouth Rock’, this heirloom was introduced in the USA in 1893. The fruits are, well, kind-of banana shaped, cylindrical rather than round, the skin turning pink-orange as they ripen. The skin is quite thin, smooth and velvety which makes them very attractive (and you don’t need to peel for roasting or soup making). Golden orange flesh is thick, firm, sweet and ‘superbly fine tasting’. It actually melts in the mouth. Each plant can produce several large fruits. A good keeper as it stores for up to six months. For Supporter Kim Tyner, it gave a ‘bumper crop outdoors, grown under sweetcorn, tastes super and so easy to cut and cook’
    Certified Organic
  • 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
  • Out of stock
    This gracious lady was catalogued in the R.H.S. dictionary of plants as far back as 1633. Incredible bi-coloured blossoms of scarlet-orange and creamy white, continuing for most of the season. They develop into long fine flavoured green beans. May also be used dried. Certified Organic
  • This variety is a French heirloom also known as ‘Brown Spanish’, a standard variety in Europe for over 200 years. It was said by ‘Vilmorin in 1855 in his famous book ‘Les Plantes Potageres’, ‘That the winter supply of onions for Paris and Europe consists chiefly of this variety’. Now it is rare and very hard to find. The onion is a productive early cropper with flat bulbs up to 10cm across, Full of flavour, brown/copper skin and keeps well.
    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.
  • This came to us from Baker Creek heirloom seeds in America. A stunning all orange stalk selection that will brighten up the garden, delicious leaves. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • 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
  • Oelliet Gem Tagetes-Marigold

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    This is an edible variety of marigold, very pungent reminiscent of tangerines. Both leaves and flowers can be eaten in salads or made into tea. The plants are compact so can be grown under tomatoes etc. to help deter pests and to give a bright, vibrant, colourful display of golden-yellow to orange flowers all through the growing season. Not frost hardy. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Certified Organic
  • Easy to grow your own. Linseed is full of essential fatty acids & is a great health food. Sown in spring you will be treated to delicate satiny sky-blue flowers every day before pods ripen full of seeds. 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A cordon tomato bearing lovely yellow fruits of varying sizes some up to beefsteak-size.  They ripen to a deep glowing orange with a pleasant flavour, great for making sauces as well as sliced fresh. 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
  • Mizuna

    2.95
    A Japanese green that grows as a large rosette of finely lobed leaves, crisp with a characteristic peppery flavour that spices up a salad and can also be used in stir fry. To have a continuous supply of young leaves keep cutting regularly. Certified Organic
  • Gorgeous deep purple leaves and stalks; this stunning chard is from a Canadian organic seed company in Ontario. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock

    McAnallen’ Sunflower

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    A remarkably large and robust sunflower. With food or oil crops in mind for the future this has serious potential not to mention it is hugely attractive and striking. 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
  • Out of stock
    This very early variety, is a compact bush- type with cherry red, juicy fruit, ripening long before the end of June. The flavour a dense, delicious tangy sweetness. Certified Organic
  • A bumper cropper of very large (300-400g) sweet, succulent juicy raspberry coloured fruit. In fact Malinowy means ‘Raspberry’ in Polish where this wonderful tomato hails from. The trusses of this cordon type, were heavily laden early in the season and sweet before ever experiencing much sunshine. The fruit is both perfect for slicing raw with dense flesh and for making the juiciest sauces. Thanks to supporter Liam Gaffney for introducing this one to us. Apparently the seed had been saved for many years by the grandfather of a Polish guy working in Scotland. Certified Organic
  • In 2018 we carried out a comparative trial between ‘Major Dunne’ and ‘Major Doon’, to try and ascertain if they were one and the same variety but with different name spellings as can often be the case. The Major Doon seed was acquired from The Heritage Seed Library in the UK who in turn had received it from a donor, Joseph McKeen, who sent them the seed of this Scottish heritage variety when he discovered he could no longer buy it commercially. It’s 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! In the absence of DNA testing, we concluded that Major Dunne & Major Doon are one and the same.
  • Translates as ‘Great Good’, this pea has been around since 1872 and with good reason. Described as ‘a willing giant of a pea, brimming with health and large luscious pods’. Needs firm supports.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

    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
  • Out of stock
    This came from the British Heritage Seed library, but presumably has Irish origins. It grows well and is very hardy, the flowers have a lovely scent. Produces long pods with four or five creamy seeds. Can be used for autumn sowing. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The seeds of this variety were brought back from an international slow food gathering in Turin, Italy. We weren’t initially sure whether it was going to be a leaf/chard type or a fodder beet- root crop. When grown in our gardens it turned out to be a vigorous, hardy crop with large light green leaves.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Out of stock
    Grown for generations in the Channel Islands, an essential ingredient when dried, of a local dish there called the ‘Jersey bean Crock Pot’. The flat bean pods are stripped, very productive and can be eaten either fresh or matured and dried.  Certified Organic
  • Beautiful dark green savoy heads of medium size cabbage that are winter hardy, grown out from the native Irish collection.
    Certified Organic
  • One of our most popular varieties, repatriated from the Vavilov Gene Bank in Russia. The plants grow swiftly in our temperate climate, so need good support. They produce an abundance of delicious sweet round peas, described by many as a wonderful crop. They have good mildew resistance and are less prone to sprouting in the pod in a wet summer. Certified Organic
  • Certified Organic
  • Hopi Red Dye Amaranthus

    3.25 (3.25 incl VAT)
    This one came from the Hopi people of Arizona and New Mexico, so called because they used the stems to make a food colouring for their bread ‘Piki’. The leaves can be used like a spinach, and are an excellent source of many vitamins, proteins and trace elements. The plants can grow up to 1.4 m, the flowers a vibrant, rich deep red make a stunning display, hanging in cascades 30-60cm long.  Needs some staking. Certified Organic
  • Wonderful mustard greens with lush big, brilliant green leaves. A delicious flavour, not too strong. Especially nice steamed, and served with a lemon juice and soya sauce dressing. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • This variety has been maintained by three generations of the Sweeney family from Gortahork village in Donegal, the original seed was brought back from Scotland by Owen Sweeney in 1910 and saved ever since. A distinct landrace, large drumhead winter hardy cabbage with excellent flavour.
    Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A favourite of Mona one of our seed guardians who has saved seed of this variety for over 15 years. A cordon giving a plentiful supply of sweet, sweet round medium size bright yellow fruit. Certified Organic
  • A prolific dwarf variety. Uniform plants with yellow pods and golden/brown beans when mature. We trialled them in 2020 at Capparoe and then our very reliable seed guardian Colm O Driscoll grew them on at Airfield Estate to bulk up our supplies.
  • A hardy annual, with characteristic pungent leaves used in salads, curries and pickles. This variety was brought to us from the Kenyan seed savers in 2017. Very vigorous and easy to grow. For a constant supply sow direct, little and often from early spring. Coriander has a long history of use. Seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. These days the seeds have been found helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Certified Organic
  • Flat leaf heirloom parsley from Italy, with early seedling vigour and prolific, strong growing, large, open plants. High yielding dark green, lush leaves with rich, sweet flavour. The thick stalks can be eaten like celery.
  • Out of stock
    A very old French heirloom variety mentioned in the book ‘Les Plantes Potageres’ in 1885. Extremely vigorous particularly good for autumn plantings. Large long smooth leaves up to 25cm long. The plants can reach 60cm in diameter. Leaves are thick fleshed, dark green and very flavoursome. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Italian heritage main crop carrot of great popularity. Large deep orange pointed roots, with excellent flavour and sweetness. Altogether delicious. 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
  • 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
  • This is an outstanding variety bred by Alan Kapaler in Oregon for organic conditions. It has proved to be a favourite, very hardy, ovewinters well (outside as well as in a tunnel). A giant cut n come lettuce with lush deep red lobed leaves that can be picked all through Autumn, Winter and Spring.
    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
  • 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
  • This is a Florence bulb fennel, a wonderfully ornamental vegetable grown for its swollen leaf bases or 'bulbs' and edible leaves. Ideal for cool climes. Very reliable, high yielding, quick maturing and bolt resistant producing crisp bulbs with a strong liquorice flavour. The stalks can be eaten raw or cooked like celery and the seeds have a lovely anise flavour. Certified Organic
  • An Irish pea of distinction, also known as Fill the basket or even Fillbasket. It is listed in the Edmonson Brothers Dublin seed catalogue in 1921. It was sent in to us by John O Neil. His neighbours, the Christies from Tipperary town had grown and saved this variety for over 50 years. Easy to grow small plants 1-1.2m but very productive with truly delicious peas, enough to ‘fill a bucket’. Certified Organic
  • A rare, smooth-skinned variety from Switzerland. Described by growers as “spectacular, tender bulbs with fantastic flavour and bolt resistant”, “Very successful and absolutely delicious”.
    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
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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