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 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • Gorgeous deep purple leaves and stalks; this stunning chard is from a Canadian organic seed company in Ontario. 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
  • 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 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    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
  • 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
  • Beautiful dark green savoy heads of medium size cabbage that are winter hardy, grown out from the native Irish collection.
    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
  • 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
  • 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

    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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Very productive ‘blood’ red conical beetroot with juicy, intense flesh that remains tender and sweet even when quite large.
    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.
  • 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
    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
  • 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
    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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • A prolific producer of succulent broccoli spears when sown late Spring/early Summer for harvest from February the following year.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 translates simply as ‘Round ball’, deep red in colour with a delicious fruity, mild taste particularly good in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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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