Given the current state of the world seed supply, it is more important than ever that people know how to save their own seed and select their own strains. We do not deal in hybrid (F1) varieties, so you are free, and very much encouraged, to save your own seed for the following year. Instructions are supplied with every packet, and we are happy to advise by e-mail if you need more help.

However, please note that this seed catalogue is the sole source of funding for maintaining the Collection - we get no grants - so while we hope you will keep your saved seed and even pass it on to friends, we would of course appreciate it if you did not use it to go directly into commercial competition with the Collection.

Much of our seed is produced by hand, and so is available in limited quantities. Packets are pretty generous: you should get enough for a family of three or four in a packet. Seed counts are approximate - packets are filled by hand, not machine. Sadly, we cannot supply bulk quantities (there are only two of us !). If you want to grow really huge quantities, just save your seed using the instructions supplied and sow as much as you like the following year.

We believe all our seeds are free from disease, breed true, are correctly identified and truly edible. We want you to enjoy our vegetables! But we have to say that there is no warranty, express or implied, as to the type, description, or any other quality of the seed supplied, and we cannot accept any liability in any way from the resulting crop.

Where we give information about the uses, qualities or effects of plants, we have researched this as well as we can, and believe it to be true - but our sources might be wrong, so we can make no guarantee as to its accuracy. No medical claims are made. We do take all reasonable precautions to research our plants carefully, and try everything ourselves before we offer the seed. We steer clear of things that have to be prepared in weird and wonderful ways to be edible.

To the best of our knowledge these crops are correctly identified, safe to eat, and are commonly eaten by large numbers of people in their country of origin. However, different foods can affect people differently, and with all new foods, it is wise to try tiny amounts first, especially if you have a history of allergies to similar plants.

Biopiracy: It is becoming sadly common for large companies to patent traditional vegetable varieties, and claim them as their own. The subject is complex, but we do not believe it is correct to patent food plants. We reserve the right to refuse membership of our seed club, and to refuse to supply seed to anyone, without explanation. Likewise, as policy, we do not supply samples to other seed companies or individuals involved in the trade.


In the EU, there is actually a list of 'official' vegetable varieties. And a law governing seed sellers, which states that if a variety isn’t on the official list, then seed companies cannot ‘market’ the seed to anyone.  In an immediate sense, this law only affects us, not you - because there are no laws at all governing the buying of seed or what vegetables anyone can grow. Selling unlisted seed? - that’s against the law.  Buying unlisted seed? - that’s completely fine! So we should stress that for you it’s perfectly legal to buy any seed you like, plant it, grow it, and do whatever you want with it.

But this system does affect home gardeners in the long run – because it costs money to put/keep varieties on the official list. So it's only profitable to 'keep listed' varieties that sell in huge quantities to farmers, who have very different needs to home growers - a farmer wants their plants to respond to precise chemical inputs, fruit all at once for ‘once-over’ harvesting, and be tough to stand up to transport and packaging. You on the other hand, want tender vegetables produced over a long season, even during variable years.

It’s just not worth listing seed for home gardeners. Hundreds of thousands of old heirloom varieties (the results of about eleven thousand years of plant breeding by our ancestors) have been lost forever, due to this rather poorly drafted EU legislation.

To address this, we have always operated as a club - 1p of your order pays for a years membership, so we are not selling to the 'public'.  But this is no longer enough: As of 2011, the UK is being obliged to enforce the regulations more strictly, with the sweetener that varieties can be added to the National List for a reduced fee if they are labelled as ‘amateur seed’.
To complicate the issue, the legality of the National List system is now being challenged in court, and independently the EU itself is planning to ‘simplify’ the whole thing in 2016.  Even worse, the law in different countries is ambiguous as to whether selling seed to home gardeners counts at all! 

We have taken legal advice on how best to meet all these requirements and you will now see some packets labelled ‘amateur seed not for commercial exploitation’ which we have been advised meets the requirements of both the EC Directive and the UK Seed Marketing Regulations. We are also working with DEFRA to register our unlisted varieties over the next few years, though the total cost is high, so you will see some varieties dropped - it is simply is not economic to register varieties that only a few people request each year.

Do check out our free seed-saving instructions to learn how to save your own seed at home.



The 'Real Seed Catalogue' is a trading name of a membership-based seed club organised by The Real Seed Collection Ltd.
This is a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee: Company No: 5924934
Registered Office: Gadlys, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0RF. Registered for VAT No 841181938