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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Soil Preparation - Part 4

Now we will resume our regular programming. Today's topic is about some of the tools you will need and maybe a few extras that you will definitely like to add to your collection. For those of you who are taller you may want the longer straight handles on your tools. However if you are short like me, I find the D-handles much easier to work with. The only exception to the above suggestions are the Spading fork and Border shovels and there even you taller people might like the D-handle as it is easy to reef on the tool.

1. Spading or Digging Fork - This fork has 4 prongs, that are roughly 1/2" - 3/4" wide by 1/4"- 3/8" thick and roughly 8-10" long. In my opinion the thicker and longer the prongs, the better. Also make sure that you get one with a sturdy handle (I prefer a metal one) that is topped with a D. This is one of the two "work horses" use around our place. I use it to bust up new soil, and turn the beds spring (lightly) and fall (deep turning working the mulch into the soil for more humus). It is also very good for lifting out plants after you have sliced around them with a shovel or spade.

2. Border shovel - This is useful for cutting tough turf, and other odd jobs such breaking up matted compost and manure. I cannot stress enough to get your tools with the best metal and handles you can afford. Especially if most of your gardening will be done by hand or you are doing large areas. It will pay for itself in the long run, especially if you take care of them properly.

3. Digging Spade - This is another of the garden "work horses". As the name implies, it is used to dig in your garden. Especially if you are doing a deep or double digging job. You will find it handy when loading or unload you compost or manure to move it to where it will do the most good.

4.Hoes - For those of you who do not used raised bed gardening, a good hoe is essential. My personal preference is a Draw Hoe, as it can be used for multi tasks. Weeding, hilling, soil movement and chopping, all come to mind as I picture this variety of hoe in action.

5. For those of you who used the raised bed method of gardening, I would suggest a Hand Mattock, with the hoe blade on one side and cultivator on the other. (By now you probably have gathered that raised beds are usually more hands on, with out the massive back aches of a flat garden, but we won't go in to the pros and cons of the two types of gardens here at this time.)

6. A bale of binder twine or heavy twine of some type. This will be used in a variety of places.
Marking straight rows. (Cut the twine to the length of your rows plus a foot. Tie a sharpened stake at each end and then shove one end at the beginning of your row, walk out to the end of your row. Wrap excess string around second stake and embed. Take you hoe or a marking stick and slide it along the taunt string and voila - a straight row is marked.)
Tying up plants or securing them to supports.
Using as supports for bean poles - One center pole with strings run down from the top and spaced 18" to 3' in diameter and pegged at that distance, will make a lovely bean pole teepee.
Making bundles of plant material easy to transport to compost bins.
I am sure once you put your mind to it you can find a hundred and one things to do with twine. (And if you do please either leave a comment or contact me at grungysgarden@gmail.com as I would love to do a blog post of what can be done with twine later on this summer. Thank you in advance.)

This post is getting long and I will continue it tomorrow under Soil Preparation - Part 5.

1 comment:

  1. I would add a good rake -- nice long handle, not too wide a head, teeth curved/bent slightly backwards... I use it for many of the same purposes you would use a draw-hoe, but then I prefer a push hoe for weeding (and for drawing drills for direct seeding.)