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, October 13, 2011

I managed to keep my weight up enough to get this round of chemo. I just have to make sure I don’t lose any weight over the next three weeks. Since I will be eating at home for two of those weeks, it should be no problem. They have adjusted the last three treatments to Nov 1, 2, & 3. to allow me to have the pre-chemo blood test done in Creston, the town nearest where I live, on October 31. They do a blood test before each chemo series to make sure they haven’t beat your system up too badly to continue beating it. Actually it is a good thing they do = they can seriously compromise your immune system, if they hit you too hard, and that and red blood cell count are the two main things they look at. Weight loss is a general systemic indicator that they are doing a bit too much. In my case, the weight loss is a side product of the radiation, not the chemo, but they will not differentiate between the two.

I also found out that my receiving chemo and radiation at the same time for three of my four chemo series is a bit unusual = most often they only do two of the four series in conjunction with radiation. Doing them at the same time apparently substantially increases the effectiveness of the chemo drugs. I’m not sure why they made the exception with me = providential timing, trying to recoup the time lost when I fell through the cracks, I was in better shape than most when my cancer was discovered, the extra is needed to accomplish or make sure of a cure, or my attitude said I could take the extra hits. What ever the reason, I’ll take it as it is given. They know a lot more about what they are doing than I do, so I won’t second guess them.

I am looking forward to getting back into the garden for real this weekend, even if I won’t have the stamina to accomplish all that I would like to. I won’t have to short-plan everything to prep for coming back here. Being able to drop a project in mid-stride, and know that I can come back to it the next day, is not something I have looked at as a bonus or a luxury before, but it is.

So far, I have brought about 90 lbs of tomatoes, 30 lbs of squash, and 15 lbs of dried beans, to the kitchen here at the lodge. I’ve also put about 20 lbs of cherries tomatoes and 20 lbs of plums = Green Gage and Italian Prune Plums, in the activities/TV/lunch room. I have a hard time eating the cherry tomatoes and plums, but I nibble a bit from time to time = they usually last about two days, and are all gone.

One of the places I walk past on a daily basis here, has a filbert/hazelnut tree in the front yard. Last week, the morning after we had a fairly strong wind system go through here, there was a woman raking up leaves and debris from one part of the yard (not where the tree is), and I commented on passing, that there were a lot of nuts under the tree. She replied “Take them if you want them, no one here eats them.”

I came back later with a few plastic grocery bags to pick them up, and filled two of them, about 10 pounds. These will make some excellent nut butter this winter, among other things. This week, I paid her back with about 30 lbs of tomatoes (two tall ice cream pails full). I figure we made an even trade = we each gave away something we couldn’t use, and received something we wanted = although she didn’t know at the time that it was going to be a trade.

This next bit will sort of date me a bit, and it’s slightly political, which I usually steer clear of, but it’s something that has been going through my head every time the news mentions anything about the “Occupy Wall Street” phenomenon that has hit all 50 states.

Buffalo Springfield originally released this in 1967 as For What It's Worth but it’s more commonly known as Something’s Happening Here. Judge for yourself if it’s as applicable now as it was then.

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What gets me about the whole phenomenon, is that half the politicians seem to be blind or tunnel visioned about it. One has been on the news saying he is becoming alarmed at how pervasive it is = when he should be alarmed at why it is so pervasive it is = something is seriously broken in the system, and it is not just an American phenomenon. There are versions of it starting in many parts of Europe, it is about to migrate to Canada, and likely will show up elsewhere.

Combine this with what has been seen to happen in the “Arab Spring” phenomenon, and I think the politicos have to start looking real hard at the rule books they have created due to manipulations by big business, both home grown and multinationals. I strongly dislike the violence that I see at things like the G8 and G20 summits, but I think what they have been like will be nothing compared to what may come if no one listens to what is coming out of the “Occupy Wall Street” phenomenon. So far it has been almost entirely non-violent, and I would hope it would continue that way = but I know that sooner or later, if something doesn’t start happening as a result, some group is going to hijack the forum and start preaching violence by example. It happened in the 1960’s, and will happen again. The “99%” want to be heard.

And that’s all the “political comment” for this week.

There are a few new photos of this years garden at https://picasaweb.google.com/108421163807481105353/KOZULACOLLECTION2011



Many of the tomatoes look less than optional, but the photos were taken in October.

I will leave it at that for this post. The next one will be posted from home in about a week or ten days, after I have had a chance to really see what has been happening in the garden, aside form stupendous weed growth, and great late tomato production. Except for the cherry tomatoes, it is hard to see where anything has bee taken from most of the tomato plants, but I know there has to have been at least 1000 lbs taken since the first week of September. I’ll try and document a bit of that and add it to one of the albums.

And the adventure continues.

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