About Grunt and Grungy ...
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 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.
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:
When you have made up your list, send me a copy at email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I waited ten days after the latest frost date I've seen here, before I started planting out the beans and corn that I had prestarted. I guess I should have waited a few more days, because we had a very light frost four days later, and I lost over half of the beans I had planted out. The corn fared much better, with only 4 or 5 plants out of about 700 being affected at all by the frost. I also lost a good percentage of my squash plants in my hoop houses, as I had no heater going (there was no frost warning). Surprisingly, I only lost two melon plants. I would have thought they would be even more susceptible to frost than the squash, but apparently not.
Any varieties I lost that I have enough seed for to plant out now, and still have some left for another try next spring, I will try direct seeding, and hope to get enough to save seed from. The beans that I can't replant, I will direct seed some other variety as a replacement = I like to see the teepees filled out.
Now, how to "cheat" on making new garden beds.
I started by tearing the turf out along the border of the new bed section I wanted to create, and throwing the beaten out turf on top of the bed I was making. It looks like I have done more digging than is actually the case, as I beat the soil out of the roots, to help kill the weeds and break them down a bit quicker. I have actually only dug out about an 8" (20 cm) border around the bed.
Then I covered the bed with a couple of layers of cardboard. If you don't have cardboard, newspaper will do, but you will have to put it on at least 5 pages thick, and heavier would be better. Don't use glossy colour magazine pages, as the inks and dyes often have heavy metals in them, and you don't want to incorporate them into your soil.
Since this bed is going to have a melon in it for this year, I only manured the hole the hill is going to be located in. Some of the soil that is on the cardboard will be pulled up around the base of the melon plant when I transplant it.
Then, to make it a little less ugly for the summer, and to help break down the turf under the cardboard, I buried the cardboard in mulch. This mulch happens to be recycled from the top of another bed. Make your mulch layer at least 3" (8 cm) thick, heavier than that if you have mulch to do it with. Almost anything organic will do for this, as you can scrape it away later, if you don't want to add it to your soil.
The way I have done this is a bit more labour intensive than it has to be, but that is a matter of personal choice. The cardboard could have been laid directly on the sod, without digging the border, and just the hole for the melon dug out and manured, and the mulch added. I wanted the bed to already have an established border when I dig it out this fall or next spring.
There are other ways of creating new beds without having to fight the turf while it is still alive. Probably the best known of these, is "lasagna gardening" http://ourgardengang.tripod.com/lasagna_gardening.htm
I'll post a couple of photos next time, making a new bed without digging the border first. It is worth noting that you can do this on areas you don't intend to plant this year, and even leave it to be done until early in the fall if you don't have the time to spare now. Of course, the longer you have for the cardboard and mulch to kill and break down the turf, the easier it will be to turn the soil next spring.
Until next time, have fun in the dirt.