Know Your Seeds

August 2011 permaculture cottage 010There are basically four different kinds of seed you can purchase.

  1. Open Pollinated Seed.    Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland 001
    This is the most natural seed, simply because it has not been interfered with in any laboratory.Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine Cottage
    This seed is pollinated by Nature…bees, insects and wind. Occasionally by us too as we brush up against flowers and accidentally get pollen on our clothes, carrying it to another flower and so on. Permaculture Cottage August 2011 007Sometimes we help Mother Nature a little by gently brushing the pollen from one flower to another. It’s all good! August 2011 permaculture cottage 024These seeds are what are commonly referred to more and more as “Organic” on the packaging. August 2011 permaculture cottage 010Organic seeds are fast becoming more difficult to obtain in Garden Shops etc. August 2011 permaculture cottage 008This is because the big seed companies are busy buying up the small seed companies, leaving the consumer with less and less choice!
  2. Gloria, me and FloHigh Yielding Seed.    These look attractive in the packet, with lots of blurb attached to get you to buy, but, these seeds thrive on chemicals and are sort of married to chemicals too! Definitely not organic and in many cases a danger to bees and insects.
  3. www.bealtainecottage.comHybrids.   These are actually designed not to be saved!
  4. 006G.E. Seed.   Otherwise known as GM, GMO and all about genetic engineering Nature and patenting the result. These seeds are injected with chemicals and then patented by corporations such as Monsanto. Monsanto declares to be above God Almighty, by stating, and being supported by US Law, that it created the seed!

Bealtaine Cottage 2nd August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 007This is merely a guide for you to build on.

August 2011 permaculture 048Find out all you can about seed, for it is your future and that of your children.

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageVandana Shiva: The seed in its essence is all of the past evolution of the Earth, the evolution of human history, and the potential for future evolution. The seed is the embodiment of culture because culture shaped the seed with careful selection—women picked the best, diversified. So from one grass you get 200,000 rices.

That is a convergence of human intelligence and nature’s intelligence. It is the ultimate expression of life, and in our language, it means “that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever.”


July permaculture 2011 008Here at Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland I save seed…grown under Permaculture conditions which seek to protect both the integrity of the seed and the environment!

Open pollinated seed is available from Bealtaine Cottage.

Click on the link below to see the current list of seed.


  1. It is so important that we support the seed companies that have taken the non GMO pledge and are dedicated to the preservation of open pollinated seeds. They are doing a great service in preserving the heritage and diversity of vegetables and fruits. In the US we have many seed exchanges and seed banks dedicated to this end. One I order from is The Seed Savers Exchange (SSE). I also order from Baker Creek ( and Bountiful Gardens (John Jeavons who has teaching gardens all over the world.). Turtle Tree Seeds is a source of Biodynamic seeds. One of my favorite books on seed saving is Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth… I have saved seeds many years but I never fully understood how to preserve the integrity of each variety until I read her book.

  2. Hallo Colette, I am trying to save money for next year, can I save runner/french/borlotti bean seeds for next year? I would like to save as much as I can but not sure if they will come true to type, excuse my ignorance! Any advice would be appreciated. Sarah x

  3. I want to order seeds yet cannot get to the web place to order from you.  Could you put a link in.  Thanks.  RoseMary

  4. Oh the rose hips! I forage for rosehips all summer. I use them in a tincture (for the Vitamin C) that I make that contains elderberry, echinacea, ginseng, and Rosehip Vit C. The tincture along with my Fire Cider has helped to keep me healthy this winter.

    Herbalist like myself are now really concerned because “Big Pharma” companies are beginning to buy out the over the counter herbal companies. They recognize that so many people are distrustful of pharmaceuticals in general and are turning to herbals instead. We are worried that the medicine that we have been preparing for hundreds of years (in its pure form) is going to come under attack, or worse yet, have sanctions placed on because of the power of Big Pharma. I guess that is why we practice quietly…

    • Keep making the medicine! For myself, I do not obey sanctions that break, or undermine, in any way shape or form, my belief in the sacredness of all life on this Earth, created for us by the Divine. My life on this Sacred Earth is not long enough to tolerate the blasphemy of corporate theft from the Creator!
      Blessings to you and all you do in the service of Earth. XXX Colette

  5. Nice article, down with GMO everybody needs to fight Monsanto and save our seeds.
    Shame to see that lovely collander left to rust in the last pic.

  6. Thanks Colette. We really need to grow plants which do well without chemicals, and specifically without artificial and imported fertility. Industrial agriculture is so heavily reliant on pesticides, herbicides, fossil fuel-based fertilisers etc., it’s woefully unsustainable. You’re showing us that not only is this very bad for the environment and for us, it’s not even necessary.

    I know you’re not Gardeners’ Question Time but I hope you won’t mind me asking: Do you have any suggestions for an evergreen, edible hedge? I’ve come up with Darwin’s barberry and cherry laurel but if you have any alternative suggestions that would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    All the best,

    • It’s all about knowledge, for as the saying goes, “Knowledge is Power!”
      I am not that familiar with evergreen hedges, as I find that a good mixed hedge can be attractive, wind protecting and have lots of food in it, so never really gave much time to the idea of an evergreen hedge…sorry!
      Blessings X Colette

  7. Rather than fill myself with anger about what Monsanto and other profit over preservation cults are doing, I am going to focus on growing as many open pollinated “organic” seeds as I can and sharing the love as far and wide as I can. I am going to start going to local seed swaps and spreading the love as well. We NEED to be sharing at ground level. Down here where it is awfully hard to stop us passing something from hand to hand and growing the results…no more fear, we need action! Cheers for sharing this. Would I be able to buy seeds from you to be sent to Tasmania? I might have to buy some to send to friends elsewhere in the world.

    • I can post seeds to any part of the world…it’s the same donation: 2 euros for one pack and 1.50 for more than one. Seed saving and sharing locally is wonderful and to be encouraged…we do the same here in Ireland!
      Blessings, Colette X

      • I might buy some for myself and then buy some for friends as well. You are wonderful to offer your beautiful seeds to the world Colette. I love the idea that Bealtaine seeds could be growing in my Sidmouth (Tasmania) garden 🙂

    • Their basic food is rather cheap stuff…dry biscuits. However, Jack loves melon, avocado, cooked veg, most fruit except oranges, bread and cake! My other two boys love cooked egg, milk, cake, scones and cheese. Any dinner leftovers are scoffed too…they are all very easy to please…mostly!
      Must now check out the tiny house!
      Blessings to you, Eric XXX Colette

    • I like that small house idea, I believe that anything on wheels doesn’t require planning permission, I suppose it avoids the new property tax and water rates in Ireland which are all designed to keep the population in permanent debt, destitution and wage slavery.

Your comments are welcome!