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.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Personal Update

I think I will start this by quoting something I first wrote in 1998 =

There aint no reboot, rewind, or start game over. This is the only run through you get, so get it right, and do it now, because you have no guarantee the game will continue.

You may feel that this is only the first inning, period, quarter, or half, but I tell you it is the bottom of the ninth, the end of the third, the last kick of the fourth, and the end of the second half, and you have no guarantee of getting off of the bench again.
If you have to play in pain, do it. If you wait for the pain to leave, the final buzzer, bell, or whistle may go before you get back in the game, so don’t wait.

Make the statement you want to make, and play the game as you want to play it. Don’t wait for the rules to change = they won’t, unless you change them yourself.

Lest you think I am saying what I don’’t do, I tell you I am playing the game I chose, and have made my own rules long ago. Things I don’t want to do, I ignore. Face, appearances, respect of others, all of the things that we run our lives by = they are not for my rule book, unless they fit with what I feel my life should be. I do what I do, because I must to be me. The only person whose respect I have to work at keeping, is me. If I do what I can live happily with, I am doing alright. I respect my own value set more than most others, and if I meet mine, I don’t need to worry about meeting those of others.”

I have put off writing this post for several reasons. At first it was because I was not ready to share with the world what was going on with my life yet, as I had not fully absorbed what it meant to me, and how I was going to deal with it. Another reason I did not post, was that I did not have enough information myself yet about anything/everything, and would be unable to answer any of the questions that I knew would come.

Since I now have enough of an information set I think it is time to post what is transpiring.

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in May. To be specific, Type 3A lung cancer. The designation indicates that I have cancer in one lung, it has spread outside the lung to some of the lymph nodes, but not metastasized = I have had a total bone scan, a CT scan of my abdomen and head, and a bronchoscopy with ultrasound and a biopsy thrown in. The lung and nymph nodes are the only locations there is cancer.

The prognosis, based on the statistics for Type 3A, and how I am presenting the symptoms is good. The median survival rate for a diagnosis of Type 3A is 15 months (that is the point at which 50% of those diagnosed will have died). The 5 year survival rate is 23%.

Because of the way I am presenting the symptoms = very good general fitness, still good lung function despite 56 years of smoking (I quit August 23, 2010), no weight loss, and no difficulty swallowing = the oncologist says I will be in the 23%. He also said that he thought he could cure this, not just drive it into remission, and that is the premise he is treating me on.

I know this blog has been badly neglected and very infrequently posted to for some time. I could make excuses about various things happening that made it impossible, but the fact is, life just sort of got in the way, and the garden got looked to first.

I've had my bell rung again with this latest development, and will listen up a little better to what I preach in the above quote.

As a result, the garden is no longer going to be the sole focus of my life. I will still garden in a big way, but it's going to have to fend for itself a lot more than it has in the past. I will expand the variety of things I grow, but reduce the amounts of some of the crops at the same time.

The orchard will see better maintenance, so I don't end up taking 3/4 of the crop off with a pruning that should have been done two years earlier. Thinning will take place on time for a change, watering will be more frequent, and there will be a lot of manure spread around the trees for a change.

The trade offs come in that I will actually go fishing, and do a little travelling for a change. Things that I have shunted aside for most of the past nine years here, in favour of spending more time in the garden, are going to get done again.

It's not that I don't still love gardening = it's just that I have been reminded that I do not have all of the time in the world, and there are still flavours of things out there that I have not sampled.

I will keep you all apprised of what is happening, as it transpires.

Strangely enough, this might also result in a lot more gardening content being posted as well, as there will be more time to do it in (I think).

As with everyone else, I have more facets to my life than gardening and this blog = I have just faced away from them for a bit too long, and will start doing at least a few of them again.

I do ask that you not let this announcement change or shade the way you interact with me. I am still the same guy, and I still plan to be around for a long time. If you think this has me thinking long about my mortality, don't = I just started crossing tomatoes, and am going to be replacing a few fruit trees that have had to be removed.

Life is the great adventure, and no adventure is complete with out days or periods where things do not go as planned, or it would be a very dull adventure.


  1. cortona aka emanueleSeptember 3, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    here in italy we have this telling: live your life as in your last day you can plant an olie tree convinced to see it flowering!
    you are the same guy as ever! you are in my pray and in my soul!
    best wishes for all Dan!

  2. Dam Dan I did wonder if you were going to make it scotfree when you quit smoking. But I have mo dought that you will live your life to the fullest, and with your unbendable sense of humor. My prayers and thoughts are with you always

  3. Hello Dan,
    I came for an update with your blog. And I had a question to ask you about a tomatoe plant that I grew from seeds that you generously shared with me. I saw your update.
    I wish for you to share wonderful good news about living now!
    May each day surround you with goodness that you gave to so many people. I wish that your pay it forward comes in miracles and that you receive.
    -Elizabeth J Ontario