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

Browse Seeds

  • Woad

    3.75 (3.75 incl VAT)
    Woad has been used for centuries to obtain a blue dye. Though the extraction process is elaborate, it is easy to grow this ancient plant and, as nature and culture writer Richard Mabey says, ‘it's worth having in the garden’. An attractive plant with 1m high stems, long, succulent, blueish leaves that shine like stained glass, and foamy clusters of brilliant-yellow flowers. Certified Organic
  • This tomato variety comes from Siberia. It germinates at low temperatures and grows well in cool conditions. Though it is a bush variety it is quite large and might benefit from some support. Can be grown outdoors as well as indoors. The large, slightly flattened fruits are red, juicy and ripen early. Certified Organic
  • This vigorous, quick-growing, brilliant yellow beet was developed by being rebred from old seed stocks. The round, golden roots have smooth skin and delicious, sweet-flavoured, bright yellow flesh. The colour keeps well, even when cooked. It’s also a delight in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • 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.
  • This is a wonderful lettuce bred by Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon. A large, upright, loose-leaf cos type head, perfect for ‘cutting and coming again’. It is indeed outrageously red, a colourful addition to salad. Hardy over winter, also good for spring sowing. As well as being grown at Capparoe, this variety has the claim-to-fame of being the first vegetable grown and eaten on the International Space Station!
    Certified Organic.
  • This lovely bush variety presents a huge amount of scarlet small-to-medium, juicy fruit. An early ripener, their flavour is mild, fresh, and tangy. An early ripener.  Mrs. Ruck was a lady of Audley End Estate in Essex (now managed by English Heritage) and had passed on the seed when she moved away. Our seed came to us via the Eden Project in Cornwall. Certified Organic
  • 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
  • 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! Growing outdoors as well as under cover, this sweet, mild tomato is a lovely addition to any garden.
  • This variety is of Italian heritage and was named after the 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 ‘crimped’, bright, lush green leaves and white stalks that are almost like asparagus when cooked. Young flowering stalks in spring can be eaten like sprouting broccoli. It has the seal of approval from ‘Scoil Chroi’, in Galway who shared that “Lucullus was a big hit with students of all ages, they loved it, devouring it raw”.
    Certified Organic
  • A very old heritage variety, originating in Egypt and dating back to the 1800s. In a crop description from 1885, the French seed producer Vilmorin states ‘Exceedingly early variety, best of all early kitchen garden kinds’. This is echoed in modern times by gardener Bob Flowerdew who proclaims that it has ‘the best flavour’. Early maturing, smooth skin on wide roots, deep crimson/purple flesh, both sweet and tender. Very popular among the staff in taste tests. Grows above the ground, so easy to pull when harvesting.
    Certified Organic
  • Popular, Italian heirloom courgette. The dark green fruit are long (can reach up to 60cm and remain tender) and are distinctively ridged. The plants are vigorous so give them plenty of space, they will produce well through the whole season, outdoors as well as under cover. They taste great and look very decorative when sliced and cooked. 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.
  • We had seven seeds in a packet from a German gene bank, dated 1999 with the place of origin given as Sweden, the description ‘vegetable marrow’. The plants grew amazingly well, quickly covering an entire bed in the tunnel with their small, tasty courgettes, though this crop comes into its own as the more traditional marrow.
    Certified Organic
  • Originally from Switzerland, this old landrace was selected and bred by a Swiss farmer. We shared the seeds of this variety with our friends at Adaptive Seeds in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, where they have been undertaking leek trials. This reliable leek has good large stalks, dark green leaves and is hardy through winter. Certified Organic
  • A rare heritage variety, coming originally from an heirloom collection offered by ‘Seeds by Size’ in England. This variety has long tapering roots, is sweet to eat and very hardy. Certified Organic
  • Kindly donated to us by supporter Stephen Marsh, this is a lovely, large, green lettuce with an upright growing habit. The loosely curly leaves are very crunchy and strong-tasting, a great texture to have in a salad mix. Grows well year-round.
    Certified Organic.
  • A Swiss ‘ruby’ variety, this lettuce has an upright habit and a loose head of stunning, deep maroon leaves. A reliable, cold-hardy plant, excellent as a ‘cut and come’ variety.
    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 quinoa variety has a mix of the many colours of different types of quinoa: tan, red, orange and black. These plants make a stunning addition to any garden with their bright and colourful seedheads, not to mention the nutritional powerhouse of the seeds. Each colour has a slightly different attribute – sweeter, nuttier or chewier - we hope you enjoy them all! Certified Organic
  • A Japanese pumpkin also known as ‘Kabocha’ squash, grows several small fruits per plant with mottled green skin. The flesh is a deep yellow to orange with a firm, fine texture, quite dry with a sweet, delicate flavour, not unlike a sweet potato. The skin itself becomes quite tender when cooked so does not need peeling. Excellent keeping qualities. Ebisu is the name of one of the Gods of Luck, so it must be good to have in the garden! 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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