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.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Soil Preparation - Part 3

Still getting short of time digging that garden? Another quick and easy procedure is for your melons and squash. It is very similar to planting your potatoes, but slightly more work.

First locate where you would like your squash/melons to go. You should allow at least 8 feet for vining varieties and 3 feet for bush types, between each "hill"or section. Take your spade or shovel and slice and cross slice an area about 36" X 24" rectangle at the center of the section. (Please remember we are working towards 3' wide beds.) Pull out the sod and knock off as much dirt as easily possible. (You can add this turf to your growing pile of composting material we discussed in Soil Preparation # 1.) Dig the soil well with your spading fork(at least 14 " deep) and remove any stones and rubbish. Now is the time to incorporate soil enrichments as melons and squash are heavy feeders. Use 4-6" compost, or well rotted manure plus 2 Tablespoons of Epsom Salts, and a handful of bone meal. If you soil is already on the acidic side, up to a teaspoon of lime, can be added. Good general garden soil has a pH of 6.5 - 6.8, although plants can grown in soil slight on either side of this pH range. Since you have added bulk and "fluffed" the soil, water it and let it set for a couple of days to settle back down as far as possible. You will still probably have a small mound or "hill", which is what you want.

In a short growing season, start your melons/squash in paper pots (1 seed per pot and 3/4"-1" deep) in a heated "greenhouse" up to 3 weeks before the soil is warm enough. (I usually figure about a week before the last frost is due in my area.) For those of you who are blessed with a longer and warmer growing season, you will be able to plant directly in the "hill".

Assuming that it is warm enough, now it is time to plant your melon and squash. Again plant at the 3/4"-1" depth, if direct seeding. If you are transplanting by the paper pot method, tear off the excess "collar" of paper, dig you hole at the depth of the pot and gently (REMEMBER: squash and melons do NOT like their roots disturbed) transplant into the hole, mounding the soil slightly over the soil of the pot. Plant 3 plants to a hill in a triangle shape about a foot apart from each other. Water them in well and keep the soil moist. At planting time, since there are many insects that love to eat fresh growing tips of both squash and melons, we cut the bottom out of 1 gallon milk jugs and a hole in the cap (leaving a 1/8" rim on the cap), place them over the seedlings and bury the bottom of the jug about 1/2" into the soil, run a stick through the mouth of the jug into the soil, then take a piece of tulle or remay put over the top of the stick and milk jug and secure with the cap. This allows the excess heat to escape and prevents the wind from blowing your milk jugs away.

Break out the mower and again mow the intervening strips of grass (both between the rectangles and the pathways) as short as possible. Cover with 2 or 3 layers of cardboard and the put mulch 2-3" deep over the top of the cardboard. Water the mulch well to cause it to cake up and form a cap over the cardboard and help exclude any sunlight.

Done the way described above, you can plant your squash and melons with only a 3' pathway between beds. Again you can mow the grass strip in between beds, cover with cardboard and mulch with grass clippings, hay or even sawdust to help kill back the grass and weeds under you cardboard, and by fall you will have a much easier time of turning those pathways into gardens.

An addition tip here. If you are using sawdust on your pathway. Sprinkle it liberally with high nitrogen fertilizer (the first number of the 3 that is on the bag label), as it will help break down the sawdust into rich compost. Do this once a month all summer.

Now that your squash and melons have taken off and are filling the milk jugs full of lovely green leaves, it is time to let your "babies" face the world. Carefully remove the jugs (and store for next year). When the plants start putting out runners (on vining types) or you see the first flower bud on bush types, top dress you "hills" with another inch or so of manure or compose. If you are unfortunate not to have either available, then sprinkle a small handful of slow release fertilizer around the plants on your hill, remembering both types are very heavy feeders.

A couple of notes here.
Squash and melons of the same family cross readily so if you have more than one variety, and want to keep your seed "pure" you will have to bag both male and female blossoms and do the pollination yourself. You can reduce the chance of cross pollination, by also planting different families together in your rows. ie a Pepo type and Maxima type of squash should not give any viable seeds.

Happy growing and keep your eyes out for squash bugs. We are blessed that they aren't around here. But if you live in an area where they exist, a suggestion would be to make hoop houses down your rows and cover your melons and squash with floating row cover that is pinned down on all sides.

No comments:

Post a Comment