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.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Five weeks done

Home for the weekend now. Eating is becoming problematic = one little bit of inattention when chewing and swallowing, and I get brought up short very quickly. I knew this was coming, but it is somewhat disconcerting when even taking a drink of water requires paying close attention to what you are doing.

I am going to be doing a lot of blender work in the next few weeks, and learn to like everything served cool to cold. This makes it possible to swallow, but in small amounts, and carefully. It’s only going to be for a few weeks, so I’ll weather it okay.

The tomato seeds I left to ferment last week, may or may not be okay = I’ll have to germination tests on most or all of them, after they dry down. Some of them ballooned a bit from being immersed so long, which may or may not mean they are toast. Most of the beans still need to be picked, at least partially, to ensure I get the seed I need for next year. Melons have to be gathered and labelled = half at least are not mature yet. Squash are still playing hide and seek in the leaves, the pears are starting to drop at the least excuse, so it’s about time to pick them, and get ready to process what I can’t store.

Even under the present circumstances, I just love this time of year, even when it drives me nuts to be so far behind everything = and that happens every year.

Shaoling has finally conceded that we have far too many tomatoes for us to use, and she really hates to waste food, so we are going to be opening the gates to all comers pretty soon. She was a shop keeper all of her working life, so she want to sell everything we can’t use ourselves, and yet share with those who can’t afford to pay.

Next year is still a mystery to me, as far as knowing what will be planted. I do know that the garden is not going to be allowed to consume all of my time, but I also know that I will, one way or another, plant every foot of bed I have = just not possible not to. I know there’s going to be a lot more sweet corn, and a lot of that is going to get processed for winter use = soups stews, and the occasional batch of kernel corn smothered in butter. Probably a lot more squash going in too = the church can use them for school meals all through the winter. And a large contingent of beans, as usual. Have to look around and see what strikes my fancy now. And beans, lots of beans = They also benefit the church's lunch program, and they look so damned impressive when they get going.

Processed another 30 varieties of tomatoes for seed. Never did get to picking the beans, but they’ll be fine for another few weeks anyway, if need be. I have it set up now so that Shaoling can pick them, and label the buckets she puts them in with the varietal name = She can copy from the special labels I put up. She tries very hard to pick up as much as she can for me, trying to keep me from tiring myself out (futile effort, which I think she knows, but she wants to help as much as she can).

And I only just remembered to take photos of the spud pit as it now is = I saw my camera bag as I was loading the car to travel back to Kelowna, which jogged my memory.

I get 14 tall ice cream pails in the pit = it was designed to accommodate them, with a little play left over, so I can squeeze in another half row down the center, if need be.

The rack on the bottom keeps the pails off the soil, and allows ventilation through the pails (about 24 3/16" holes in the bottoms).

I use half length fiberglass insulation batts in feed bags, to insulate the top of the pit.

I put a double layer of batts on top of the pails, one layer running cross ways, the other going length ways.
I never have mouse problems in the pit = the cats like to sleep on the batts in the winter.

It is still going to be a few weeks before I dig up spuds, carrots and leeks to fill the pails. I don't know if the leeks will do well or not = I do know that we get a hard enough freeze here that I will likely lose most of them if I leave them in the soil. Onions didn't size up worth a damn this year, so I have none to hang in the basement. I know they require a little more air movement than they would get in the pit, so I won't try them there.

We are starting to get sizable harvests on our pears, both Asian and European varieties, so I may try building another pit for fruit storage = have to keep them away from the veggies or they speed the ripening there. More things to cogitate for the future.

And the adventure continues.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to consider banana smoothies at this point. Just very ripe bananas blended with some water and other fruit of your choice. I usually include some frozen fruit to make it a little cooler. A raw diet of fruits and veggies will be the most soothing, nourishing and healing for you. My favorites are banana/blueberry/peach and banana/strawberry made with frozen berries from the garden. Some folks like to get their greens in by adding some spinach, celery, etc. which are important for the mineral they contain.
    Wishing you good health.