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.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Soil Preparation - Part 6 (or Gardening Tools Part 3)

I guess I should have modified the last couple of posts in this section because they were nothing but notes on garden tools. However, a good set of tools is required for soil preparation and I could not think of a better time to cover the basics.
Just a couple more items that I find handy and then I promise I will get back to dealing with the soil preparation itself.
9. a multi marking dibble stick. Basically this is a make it yourself tool. You will need a couple of 1" X 2" boards 2' to 3' long, some 3/8" doweling, a drill with a 3/8" bit, a saw to cut the dowelling in 2 inch pieces, some wood glue and 3 or 4 - 1 1/4" wood screws. Take one of you boards and mark it at 1" intervals, then draw a center line along the long way of the board. You should have a series of crosses all the way along the board (like ++++). On each cross, drill a 3/8" hole. Now take your dowelling and cut it into 2" pieces. Lay you drilled board on a solid flat surface, and then, one at a time, wipe a little glue around one end of your dowel, and insert it into a hole in the board, pushing it firmly enough that it ended up flush with the back of the board. Once you have filled each of the holes with a dowel "tooth", turn you board on it's side over night to let the glue dry well. Looking down at while it is on it's side it should look like a short toothed comb. Next morning, put the toothed board on top of the second board and using wood screws, firmly attach it together. The second board acts as a stopper to prevent the dowel from pushing upwards and out of the top of your dibble stick. The multidibble stick can then be used in the garden to mark where your seeds go, as well as make a hole to plant the seed into.

Meanwhile back at soil preparation. The heaviest part of the work is behind you now, if you have your long rows of bare, turned earth, with the amendments added.
Your back is aching, your hands are blistered, and by now you are wondering if it is all worth while. But your transplants are up and healthy and looking for a new home where their roots can roam. Now is definitely time to start "hardening" them off. For the first couple of days, bring them outside after 3pm and allow them a couple of hours of daylight when it is warmest. Then for another 2-3 days bring them out in the morning, but provide them light shade from 11 AM-3 as they are not quite use to full sunlight and you want avoid sunscalding. After 5 or 6 days they can remain outside all day. But you have to make sure to keep them moist as they will be transpiring very heavily. After a week to ten days they are ready to transplant into your new beautiful garden.
While you are waiting for transplanting, you can now plant the rest of your garden according to the seed requirements. Beans, carrots, beets can be directly seed, into the soil, using your multdibble stick. We put a couple of carrot seeds into each hole. Beets are planted 1 per hole. Peas are every other hole. Beans go into every 3rd or 4th hole. Once the seed is dropped into the holes, turn your dribble stick over and gently scrape the dirt back and forth over the holes to fill with soil and very lightly tamp the surface once to settle the soil around the seed. After you get finished planting the seeds, use a watering can, or your drip hose or even a sprinkler hose set on gentle spray, to throughly water the ground to a depth of at least 3 inches to give the seed enough moisture to start growing.

Tomorrow we will deal with transplanting your seedlings.

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