Course Details: 

Introduction to Seed Saving with Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds

Original Price:
Start Date and Time:

Monday, September 25, 2023

9:30 am
Finish Date and Time (Approx):

Monday, September 25, 2023

5:00 pm


1 Day


To Be Confirmed
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Introduction to Seed Saving with Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds

Afternoon Cookery Classes begin at 2PM, however please try to be at cookery school for 1:45PM.

Guests will get a copy of all recipes and tastings of all dishes at the end of the demonstration. Please note you will be joining our main student body for this demonstration.

Details of Recipes to be demonstrated are published approximately 2 weeks in Advance.

The first Seed Saving Course on 22nd August is now over subscribed so Madeline Mc Keever has kindly agreed to host another course on Monday 25th September, 2023.

Join us for an intensive, hands on day of how and why saving seed is important.

Led by internationally renowned seed saver Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds, the course will be delivered in two great locations - the Garden Room at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and main Glasshouse on the organic farm where a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and herbs are grown organically each season. Madeline will lead a discussion in her inimitable style on seed security and sovereignty before demonstrating the practical instructions for saving seed of cereals, herbs and vegetables. Then it's your turn with Madeline and members of the team on hand to answer any questions you might have. You'll also have a guided tour of the farm and gardens where we'll identify the different crops and plants going to seed.

Refreshments and lunch at the  Ballymaloe Cookery School. 

Discounted / Part-Funded Tickets Through NOTS:
Eligible participants living in Ireland can avail of a generous cost reduction on this course through our course partners National Organic Training Skillnet. Go to and sign up through NOTS to avail of their reduced price offering and to get the course for just €100. Once you sign up and pay the reduced rate through NOTS, they will notify us, and you will be all set! Please note – to qualify for the NOTS rate, you must be a) resident in Ireland; and b) employed in any sector (either full-time or part-time).


Madeline McKeever grew up on a farm in Co Meath, studied botany in TCD, completing a MSc in vegetation history in 1984. After some time travelling, and a year long apprenticeship on an organic farm in Maine, she returned to Ireland in 1986 to farm in West Cork. The farm in Ardagh was managed as an organic dairy farm from 1987-1999, after which beef cattle and seeds became the main focus.  In 2005 the business name Brown Envelope Seeds was registered, and half of the farm was planted in broad-leaved trees. Since then seed production has been the main activity on the farm.  Brown Envelope Seeds are grown on the farm and by organic grower and seed saver, Jason Horner in Co Clare.  All the seeds are Irish grown and certified organic.

The Aim of the course is to enable participants to save seeds of a wide variety of cereals vegetables and herbs

 By the end of the course students will be able to:

     * describe the process of plant reproduction.
     * describe the difference between self-pollination and cross-pollination.
     * establish which vegetables cross with each other and which don't.
     * Understand  in-breeding and out-breeding and the importance of having an appropriate population of plants for seed-saving
     * Sow and space annual crops for seed production
     * Select plants for seed production.
     * Know how to maintain flowering biennials and protect from wind damage
     * Describe the importance of labelling and record keeping.
     * Harvest seeds plants
     * Dry seed plants in preparation for threshing
     * Thresh by hand, and using simple tools.
     * Clean seeds using screens and by winnowing
     * Know how to carry out germination tests
     * Extract seeds from wet fruit such as tomatoes and cucumbers
     * Dry and store seeds
     * Manage their personal seed bank
     * Course Overview for the website and social

Course elements

  • A tour of the organic farm, gardens, dairy and greenhouses, which provide much of the seasonal produce you'll enjoy at lunch and see at the farm shop
  • A discussion on seed security and sovereignty
  • Practical demonstration of how to save a variety of seeds
  • Opportunities to put theory into practice and save seeds yourself to take home



The prestigious Ballymaloe 12 WeekCertificate Course is run three times a year, with courses beginning in January,April or May, and September.

The course is aimed at anyone with a passionate interest in food. Many of our students use the course as a springboard to become a professional chef; others use it to equip themselves with a marketable skill.

Others still take the course simply to maximize the pleasure they get from cooking at home.

Students develop a deep and detailed understanding of food and how it is produced. The emphasis is on recognising the best ingredients and knowing how to showcase them.

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