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.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Seed Saving - Part One

Seed Saving is a large part of many gardener's yearly chores. It probably would be a "chore" for more people if they just realized how easy it really is, for most types of seeds. In this section of our blog, I will be dealing only with those seeds that the average vegetable or flower gardener will encounter, and not those which require special treatment such as water plants. For the ease of understanding, I will refer to the following conditions. 1. when seed is first harvested the germination rate is 95% or higher, and 2. prolonged storage germination rate will remain above 74.9% (this is what several commercial seed companies deem as acceptable for selling).
The first thing to realize is that there are three types of seed storage, room temperature, cool storage and cold storage. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
-Room temperature, which is as the name says, is keeping seeds at room temperature. It is preferable, to keep the seeds in a cool room such as a cold room, or basement or at least a room that can be kept below 70F. This is shortest term for storage and result in a fairly short term viability for most seeds. The advantage here is that there is no need for any special equipment or conditions to maintain your seeds. T
-Cool Storage temperature - this is where seed is stored in the fridge at around 4C. It will prolong seed viability for several times the amount of time that room temperature storage gives. Tomato seeds should remain viable for at least 10 years. Net result - longer storage of viable seeds but offset by the amount of fridge space required.
-Cold Storage temperature - this is the longest storage alternative, where after conditioning seeds are held at about -18C in the deep freeze. They will last a very long time this way, but require more time and expense to prepare and store.

Let us deal with Room Temperature storage. Requirements are a cool area, a storage container of some type, collection containers (ie coin envelopes, baggies, regular envelopes, film canisters, ect., anything that will keep your seeds together and that you can label.)
Always collect your seeds when they are mature enough to grow an offspring. For most plants, this is when the seed has fully formed, the fruiting body is ripe, and there is a distinct change in color in the seeds (often going from green to brown or black). Of course there are exceptions such as tomatoes, where once the gel has fully formed around the seeds and tomato fruit has started to change color, the seeds are viable.
Prepare your seeds, by making sure they are dry, especially if you are using a moisture tight container such as a baggy or film canister. Once they feel dry (an added precaution to help make sure that they are dry enough is to wrap the seeds in a paper towel, which will blot up any excess moisture.), you slip them into you selected collection container which you will label. I would suggest that you include the name of the seed, varietal name if known, date harvested and any special treatment that the seed may need to get it to germinate. Once labelled, and filled just tuck you collection container into your storage container.

Cool Storage - basically the same requirements as Room Temperature Storage, except that you will also need a compartment in you fridge. (I use one of the crisper sections.) This type of storage requires you to make sure that your seeds are dry. If in doubt, dry for a longer period of time or add a drying agent to your container of seeds. A quick common solution is to wrap up table salt into 5 or 6 layers of paper towel, or some dry rice grains done the same way. If you are going to get into seed saving in a larger way, talk to you druggist or florist and see if you can get some desiccant Wrap a very small amount in a paper towel and tuck in with your seeds. Either right in the collection container if using a moisture proof one or in your storage container if using a paper container such as an envelope.

We will go to Cold Storage next time.

REMEMBER : all the methods I have or will discuss are only modifications of other people's methods. Most storage methods have been used in various forms for years, and I can only discuss what we do. If it sounds familiar, it is only our modification of what others have done. If I know the source of information I will direct you to the person or organization which started me down that particular path.

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