About The Real Seed Catalogue - vegetable seeds that germinate quickly and grow well.
We've been producing seed for fourteen years now, and we pride ourselves on our reputation for excellent seed quality. We only send out really good seed; we are gardeners too and we know the frustration that poor seed could cause. We are registered with DEFRA: all our seed is grown, dried and stored professionally, and gets fantastic feedback from people.
Our Seed Collection
We’re a bit different from other places you might get seed from. We also grow all these veg for our own family use, so if it's in our catalogue, we know well how it grows, and how it tastes. We don't like things that are fiddly or difficult to grow, so we just don't offer them.
Over the years we have tried thousands of varieties and collected together what we think are the very best vegetables in existence for the home gardener - both valuable heirlooms and really good modern strains.
You'll find no hybrids or genetically modified seed here - just varieties that do really well and taste great when grown by hand on a garden scale.
Seed You Can Save Yourself
One of the main aims of the company - written into its deeds - is to educate and encourage home seed saving. All our varieties are real, open-pollinated seed (non-hybrid), so you can save your own seed for the future, using instructions we supply. We have written freely-copyable seed-saving guides, and we sell a more detailed seed-saving book at a subsidised price. There’s really no need to buy new seed every year - you can just save your own.
We only offer what we know is really good, rather than listing lots of different varieties just for the sake of it. But most importantly, everything here has been chosen - from hundreds of trials - for a particular reason , which we try to explain in the description.
You get the benefit of our experience because we print you out detailed instructions and observations with your seeds. For the more unusual plants, you get recipes too. So no need to worry that you won't know what to do with it once you've grown it!
We make our own catalogue and our own website, so they've been written by gardeners, for gardeners - it may not be particularly flashy, but we think you’ll find it easy to know what each variety does, how it grows, and when to sow it.
We really hope you enjoy these vegetables as much as we have enjoyed tracking them down and trying them out. Each & every one has been chosen for its merit in the kitchen as well as the garden.
Our aim is to offer you the very best seed of the best varieties we can find!
Ben Gabel & Kate McEvoy, with lots of help from Catherine, Tam, Anja, Jemma, and Kate S.
We had always grown our own vegetables, and slowly came to realise that most modern varieties have been bred for the needs of large-scale chemical farming, where all aspects of the environment are controlled with fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Supermarkets demand shiny fruit that are tough to survive shipping and display, and these are what are being bred.
But these commercial varieties give poor results when grown on a home scale without all their chemicals. And whatever has happened to qualities such as flavour and tenderness?
Luckily, we found that there do still exist many old heirloom varieties, representing centuries of careful selection and breeding for small-scale growers.
We track down and try out those that sound promising, and those that do well we add to our Collection. They come from many places - we trade with other plant collectors and heirloom vegetable projects, government seed banks, and donations from the public.
We also look for interesting plants that are well known in other countries, and could do well in the UK, but have so far remained relatively unknown.
Our aim is simple: to assemble the best collection of really
Who and where are we?
We are a family business. Kate has grown vegetables from childhood, and Ben studied as a plant scientist, which comes in handy for the more complicated breeding projects. We try to live a low-impact lifestyle - we grow most of our own food (all those trial vegetables!), and our house and office are completely solar, wind, and water-powered.
We also have several people who work for us helping grow, harvest and pack the seeds, as well as helping run the office and send out orders.
We started growing in Cambridge in the 1990s, later moved to Spain for seven years, and are now based on a small farm in Wales. These three very different climates have given us a really good overview of how our different vegetable varieties do in different conditions!
No matter what you choose, you should expect excellent germination, fantastic growth, and great flavour.
We work hard to choose good varieties and grow good seed
- we take pride in supplying the best available.
If you are in any way not completely happy with your seeds, plants, or even the flavour of the resulting crop, we will cheerfully replace your seed, refund your money, or send a credit note - whichever you prefer.
We don't think you'll need to use this guarantee, but if you do have a problem, just get in touch - we need to know about it so we can fix whatever went wrong, and do it better next time.