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, September 26, 2011

Four weeks done now.

I think for a while the blog is going to become a bit more like a journal for me and my trip through the medical system, and back to good health. I will keep it garden oriented as much as possible, but I think it is likely going to slide into my current circumstances fairly often.

Last weekend I didn’t quite get to seeding the tomatoes in the greenhouse = a few other things got in the way. We canned another 58 quarts of tomato juice, I picked a few more seed tomatoes, and I picked all of the dried pods off of 6 or 7 varieties of beans.

Speaking of making juice, I think I have created a monster = Shaoling has never had a garden before, and had never done any canning before this year. I introduced her to canning with cherries. Now she wants to make juice out of everything in the garden and orchard.

At least 200 quarts of tomato juice (which is normal for this household anyway). Carrots are next on the list, if I plant enough, and celery, and onions, and all of the other ingredients for a good mixed vegetable juice.

We have already made 30 odd quarts of cherry juice, in addition to the canned cherries.. She wants to make plum juice, and pear juice and apple juice, and if we get a good producing peach tree going, I am sure peaches will be on the list, as well as apricots, if we get a good crop.

I will quite willingly go along with all of it, for the simple reason that walking through the garden with her renews for me the awe and excitement that got me hooked on gardening in the first place. It awakens memories of walking through the garden with my grandparents, at eye level with the hornworms when they were discovered, the explanations of who and what they were and would become if left alone, and why they were not left alone. I used to love running to the nearest free range chicken with one.

I am now walking 2.6 kilometers (1.5 miles) before breakfast, doing the first and last 400 meters (.25 miles) at 180 paces/minute (8.2 kph or 5.1 mph) and slow down to 120 paces a minute (5.5 kph or 3.4 mph) for the rest of the walk). I do the same walk 3 to 6 times a day, depending on how wired I feel, and what else there is to do here. I should have the same energy in the garden!!

Over the weekend I seeded 30+ tomato varieties using chemicals, and got another 20 varieties ready to put chemicals on, then got sidetracked for a bit doing other things = and had to leave them to ferment until next weekend. I will see just how they do, sitting for a week in the greenhouse, with its cool nights, and pass judgement on them when I get home. If they need re-doing, I still have the tomatoes available to do them, if not, then it’s just a matter of cleanup = then I can turn my attention to the other three trays of less ripe tomatoes that are setting int he greenhouse waiting for me to gut them. Cleaned a couple of squash, ripped up the Ethiopian Lentils and hung the bundles to dry under cover, for thashing later, stripped off all of the dry soybean and chickpea pods, and cut the grass int the pathways, some of the orchard, and the yard.

The Bradshaw plums are ripening now = I had forgotten just how good they can be = they are a variety I ate as a kid, and put in the orchard for the memories. Italian prune plums are coming on, apples and pears getting very close = The Asian pears have to be thinned a whole lot more than I have been doing so far = I’m only getting half sized fruit, because I am leaving far too many on the tree.

Time to start getting the spud pit ready for storage use = the carrots are sizing up, most of the spud plants have died back, and this year I will try sticking some of the leeks in the pit as well, just to see how they do. I have a rack in the bottom of the pit that keeps the pails off the ground, and holes drilled in the bottom of the pails to allow ventilation of the contents. Feed bags with fiberglass insulation go over top the buckets, and keep everything from freezing. I have already sprayed the interior of the pit with fixed copper, to eliminate any fungal growth, at least for the first half of the winter.

You can get an idea of what I am talking about from these photos =

I will take some more current photos when I am home again this weekend, and update this post with them.

I’m back at the lodge again, starting another week of radiation treatments. I am no longer taking Prednisone, and it’s two weeks until my next chemo treatments, so no other meds either. This will be the first period that my body will be dealing with everything on its own. I am supposed to be entering the period of my treatments, where I start to feel the effects of the radiation and chemo = so far, nothing much that I notice. I have had no steroids or other meds for 36 hours now, and still feel somewhat wired, where I am supposed to start feeling fatigued. I did try to counter the lack of steroids by drinking my four cups of coffee this morning, and it seems to have done more than that = I felt more wired than I did while drinking coffee and taking the steroids = time will tell I am sure, in the meantime, no more coffee = I could not sit still and felt extremely speedy for about three hours after the last coffee. Tomorrow morning will likely tell the tale about whether I stay energetic and hungry, or start to feel like they say I should.

And the adventure continues.

1 comment:

  1. Some folks say that consuming lots of raw plants - preferably wild - is the silver bullet to cure cancers etc. You might give them a go. I use them to prevent awful diseases that run in my family, so far with decent results.
    Most of all, I wish you the energy you deserve.