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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  • 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
  • Out of stock
    This veritable aged lettuce was described in ‘The Gardener’ magazine in 1867, “ought to be in every garden”. Large green crisp juicy leaves with a red tinge, form a loose ‘cos -type’ head. It is hardy, so can be grown through autumn and winter from a late summer sowing. 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
    Italian heritage main crop carrot of great popularity. Large deep orange pointed roots, with excellent flavour and sweetness. Altogether delicious. 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
  • 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
  • Gorgeous deep purple leaves and stalks; this stunning chard is from a Canadian organic seed company in Ontario. Certified Organic
  • As the name implies, a turnip-shaped beetroot. Originally from North America and dating back to 1825. It has dark red, sweet flesh with occasional pink areas.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • This variety you will find often listed as an F1. However, it is quite possibly the same as listed by Vilmorin in 1856 as ‘Verte d’Australie’ Mona one of our seed growers has kept her own seed year on year and it grows reliably the same each time, so almost definitely not an F1. As do all the blue pumpkins, it hails from Australia, the silvery-blue skin contrasts beautifully with its bright orange flesh. The dense flesh deliciously sweet and nutty, second to none. Good for storage.
    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
  • 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 French heirloom ‘Full of delicate surprises’. Small, clear pale green fruit with a pleasant fruity flavour. ‘Carpaccio’ is a great way to enjoy this gem, cut the courgette into vertical slices, grill briefly on both sides, then marinate with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and fresh coriander.
    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
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • ‘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
  • This beautiful, tall pea came originally from the Northern Irish Organic Garden Society having been grown in Ireland for three generations. Needs good supports, but worth the effort giving a great abundance of large pods filled with the sweetest peas. Thanks to supporter Liam Gaffney for sending seed for us to grow on. 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.
  • 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
    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
  • 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
  • This pea was widely cultivated in the 1800’s, also known as Sangsters No. 1. An article in the New York Times 1881 describes bushels being sold every spring on both sides of the Atlantic. There is even a drawing of this pea and others by Charles Darwin in 1898. It has been given a new lease of life on repatriation to us from the Vavilov Russian gene bank. A tall vine, with prolific quantities of pods full of sweet peas, best eaten while young. Good disease resistance. The peas can also be left to mature and dry off to be used as a soup pea in winter. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A tall variety of sugar snap pea so requires good staking, but is worth it for an amazing harvest of sweet, succulent, crispy pods, best eaten when the peas are well-developed, whole pod and all, raw or cooked. This variety was given to us years back by Stormy Hall seed company to save, as it has been dropped from the commercial seed register. 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
  • 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
  • The seed of this variety was donated to us by a Dr. Stewart of Bective, Co. Meath. It produces a much larger seed than ordinary varieties of linseed and is low growing which makes it suitable to grow in more exposed locations. It yields very well. 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
  • 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
  • Salsify

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    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
  • 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.
  • This variety was sent into us by Stephen Marsh, a long-standing supporter of our work. He described it as a ‘beauti- ful butterhead’, that he used to grow 50 years ago and was then very popular. In 2016 he rediscovered it in a catalogue and sent us the seeds. Light green tasty big heads with tightly packed fleshy hearts. It is described as a Spring/ Summer sown type, but we sowed in early autumn and it grow fine and healthy under cover.
    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.
  • 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.
  • A European heirloom, productive and disease resistant. Quite tall plants with long branches bearing huge quantities of fruit. The peppers are long and slender starting as dark green they ripen to a brilliant yellow. A medium hot and delicious Chilli pepper. Supporter Nicky says ‘I love them, have bags of them in the freezer as it is so easy to freeze them whole!’ 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 cordon variety was bred by biodynamic growers in Germany. A cordon rounded-oval plum tomato, has good resistance to blight and fruit splitting. Yields well, with a fruity flavour, firm skin, holds its shape when cut, perfect in a salad or sandwich. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    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
  • ‘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
  • 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 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
  • Out of stock
    A favourite from our tomato trials of Latvian varieties. A medium, tear drop-shaped golden tomato of incredible sweetness. Yellow tomatoes tend to be less acidic than red ones. A grower in Meath goes on to say, "I grew Dzintare Lasite outside in a sheltered spot and they did very well, better than red ones". 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Very productive ‘blood’ red conical beetroot with juicy, intense flesh that remains tender and sweet even when quite large.
    Certified Organic
  • This translates simply as ‘Round ball’, deep red in colour with a delicious fruity, mild taste particularly good in salads.
    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
  • 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
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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