about The Real Seed CataLogue

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We've been producing seed for over twenty-five 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're a DEFRA-registered and Soil-Association-registered seed merchant: all our seed is grown, dried and stored professionally, and gets fantastic feedback from people.

Our Seed Collection

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.

We've tried thousands of vegetable varieties and collected together the very best - both valuable heirlooms and great modern strains. As we are all gardeners , we also grow all these veg for our own families to eat, so if it's in our catalogue, we know 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.

Seed You Can Save Yourself

One of the aims of the company - written into its deeds - is to 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.

How our Catalogue is Different

Our aim is to offer you the very best seed of the best varieties we can find.

We only offer what we know is really good, rather than listing lots of different varieties just for the sake of it. 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!

And we make our own website - it's written by gardeners, for gardeners - while it may not be particularly flashy, 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.


plant pictureWhen we first got allotments and grew our own vegetables to eat in the 1990's, we 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.

After all, supermarkets demand shiny fruit that are tough to survive shipping and display, and so 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.

So we track down and try ones 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 reliable, tasty and interesting non-hybrid vegetables for the home gardener, allotment grower, or smallholder.

Who are we?

Real Seeds is a family-owned company that has grown to now supply 400,000 packets a year all over the UK.

The company was started by Kate & Ben many years ago and has grown with the addition of more people over time. We started in Cambridge in the 1990s, and since 2004 have based on a small farm in Wales, with our offices in town nearby. These very different climates have given us a really good overview of how different vegetable varieties do in different conditions!

Kate had grown vegetables from childhood, and Ben studied as a plant scientist, which comes in handy for the more complicated breeding projects. Both of us try to live low-impact lifestyles - we grow most of our own food (all those trial vegetables!) and heat our houses mostly by wood, and run them from green electricity.

It currently takes eleven of us to grow, harvest and pack the seeds, as well as run the office and send out orders.

The Rest of the Team

Cathy, Tam, Rhiannon, Melissa, Eve, Ben M and Ian work in the office , packing seed and making it all function smoothly. All of us take turns to make up and send out orders. Melissa runs our antique seed packing machines, and designed the artwork for the envelopes. Cathy manages the packing and does all the germination testing. Howard packs fiddly seed by hand. Ben M, Eve, Josie, Tam and Ian also work on the fields growing & harvesting the crops and maintainging the machinery, hedges, fences, woods and buildings. Then we also have a network of people growing seed for us on their own farms . It wouldn't function without all their hard work!