About Grunt and Grungy ...

For those of you who don't know about us, a little history to fill you in.

Between the two of us we had over a hundred years of experience gardening. (Now that makes me feel old.) We had gardened in climates that can be described as West Coast Marine, to Sub Arctic wilderness, to flat prairie and finally settled in what we commonly refer to as our little piece of paradise, here in the Creston valley, in south eastern B.C., Canada, located about 10 km. north of the Idaho panhandle and just below Kootenay Lake.
The property lies in a small microclimate that gives us a zone 5/6 Canadian version or 6/7 US version.
We were avid gardeners for years, and about 10 years ago noticed that more and more of the old varieties of vegetables were no longer being offered. Being raised in the generation that thought "if you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem", we decided to start growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties of vegetables (especially tomatoes) and offering the seeds to other gardeners.
Well one thing lead to another and we ended up starting a private seed bank so that our and your grandchildren will be able to have the same tastes that you are having now. This past couple of years we had gone past tomatoes and started seed banking (cold and cool storage) any annual vegetable seed.
If you have questions or would like to contribute to this blog, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Also for those who wish to trade please contact me at the below e-mail address and I will get back to as soon as possible. Thank you.

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old.

Much of the final years of Dan's journey is chronicled on this blog. He was a man who made a difference to many people, and his family believe that his thoughts in the last years and months of his life, and his work in preserving heritage seeds should remain available.


What I post about ways, methods, and results is based on what I observe in my garden. Your growing conditions may achieve results that differ from mine. I am putting this blog here to offer a site to exchange gardening ideas and methods, and to exchange seeds.
I welcome questions and discussions about anything gardening. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask. I will try to find answers for questions that I can't answer, and may post links to sites that have clearer answers than I can come up with.


I do have tomato seeds to offer. The seeds are free, but I ask you to help cover the postage and handling in one form or another.
They can be obtained through trading seeds, or paying for postage at the rate of $2.00 for the first ten varieties or seed packs, and an increase of $1.00 for every ten varieties or seed packs beyond that. Seed packs are approximately 25 seeds each (not counted, just a pinch of seeds). Germination rate usually exceeds that of commercial seed packs. If you have problems with germination, let me know, and I will replace the seeds, either with more of the same variety, or with a variety that I think will give you something similar to what the original variety would have. Please note. I am not a seed company. Iwill only offer seeds from my current trade lists and also if I have lots to spare from previous years. I don't check germination on older seeds, but my experience has been over 80% on five year old seed.

2010 FALL SEED LIST = http://tinyurl.com/4whnxy3 Some seeds from this list may be in limited supply, but I will do my best to fill your request.

Albums containing photos of most of the varieties I have, and other photos that may be of interest, can be found at:
http://www.picasaweb.google.com/tvgrunt, or

When you have made up your list, send me a copy at grungysgarden@gmail.com

Changes ...

The status here has changed substantially, as you can see above. The blog will continue, hopefully with more frequent input than recently.
Seed saving and trading/sharing will also continue. I still want to bank seeds, not just of tomatoes, but I am older than the lead photo on the blog would indicate, and have passed the seed bank on to younger hands.
In the meantime, I will continue to pay it forward, and trade/share seed to all corners of the world, as I did with Val.
This poem, which we both have known since the 1960's gave us much comfort through Val's battle with cancer.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Life comes with no guarantee of quality or quantity. It is up to you to remember to smell the flowers, watch the sunset, hear the birdsong in early morning, and the spring frogs in the evening. What ever happens in your little corner of it, it is still a beautiful world, and you do yourself a great disservice if you fail to see and celebrate what is there.

A little footnote here, that will stay at the top of the blog. I have married again, for the fourth time. Another internet marriage, as Val's and mine was, and just as good, although completely different.
I was also diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2011, and started treatment to cure it in late August 2011.
The blog will carry on, in much the same vein as it always has. I will post mostly garden related articles, but also a few comments on things and life in general.
For a while, I thought Gump had it right = sh*t happens. He's wrong = LIFE happens

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old. His family wishes his blog to remain for those who wish to read Dans' journey.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How does our garden go - Part Three

Part three brings you to the tales of July and August.
We're busy, busy, busy, as most gardeners are. There is the seemingly endless cycle of weeding, watering, mulching and training the various types of plants to grow where we want them to be. Thank goodness our 12 year old niece, loves to run the mower and cut the grass. I am sure glad she had decided to spend the summer holidays with us, as it is a tremendous help having a 3rd body to take up the slack.
Providing we have a decent start to the spring, by the end of July the tomatoes are reaching towards the sky, loaded with blossoms and setting fruit like crazy. If we are lucky and have select early varieties, by mid-July, we are occasionally snacking on fresh heirloom tomatoes, with their various combinations of flavors and textures. Ummmm! Chopped up with fresh lettuce, and green onions, a little vinegar and olive oil dressing makes a wonderful change to the diet.

Towards the end of July, while Grunt struggles mightily to keep up to the rampant growth in the garden, my interest diverges somewhat toward the orchard and the commencement of canning. Around the 20th of the month the sweet cherries are ready to go, followed quickly by the early apricots.

August seems to be filled with days that do not have enough hours. The garden still needs it's care and attention, and by mid month is when we start to harvest the tomatoes in bulk. When they come through the door, the seeders are set aside for a few hours while the rest of the tomatoes are processed either as whole, stewed, chunked, or salsa. While these are going through the pressure canner, I slice the seeders in half, squeeze out the seeds in to baggies to ferment (thanks to Dave (American Gardener) for the tip) and then put the rest into a large pot to cook slowly in the oven in preparation for juicing or saucing. It hardly seems like I get one batch done, and Grunt is bringing in some more tasty heirloom/open pollinated tomatoes to do. When the tomato section of the garden gets ahead of my processing, there is a line up of people who are willing to drop in and take extras of my hands. They love the old fashioned vine ripened taste.
And if that isn't enough, the late apricots and early to mid season peaches and early pears, crowd into the processing line up. I try to save an hour or so each day to at least look at the garden and do some of the minor weeding, or mulching chores.
Although we are busy, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Every day brings something new and wonderful outdoors. It is the height of insect activity and the first batch of nestlings are now learning to fly. It seems like you can actually sit (if you had the time) and watch everything grow.
By mid to late August, the first of the melons are ready to harvest, and our diet goes from the usual meat, potatoes and two veggies, to one very high in fruit and vegetables. The heirloom melons and early summer squash are also yielding up their seeds for the seed bank, although they must dry throughly and won't be banked for another month or so. And with a warm summer, the first ears of sweet corn add that wonderful taste and aroma to the kitchen.
Towards the end of the month our "helper", has to return to school, so we cut down watering the lawn, so that it will not need as frequent mowings. This tolerable to us, because by now, the garden beds usually have a nice thick mulch coat that can be as deep as 4 inches.
Near the end if the month it seems like everything wants to be sampled, and picked, and preserved towards the coming winter. No wonder our grandmothers were so busy with all their heirloom vegetables, and they looked forward to the coming fall and winter.
Coming soon - Part 4 September and October........

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