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, October 10, 2011

One short week left

Swallowing got to be enough of a problem that I started losing weight I didn’t want to lose, and had fallen below my start weight for chemotherapy. Had a visit with Dr. Davies, my chemotherapy doctor, and she gave me a prescription for “Dr Akabutu’s Mouthwash” = I saw the list of ingredients = the first on the list is 2% lidocaine. It has to be made up fresh by the pharmacist, and takes them about an hour to make it. It doesn’t completely dispel the pain if I swallow wrong, or too coarse a food, but it mutes it enough that I have regained 2 pounds in a day and a half. To me this is very important, because Dr Davies told me, if I lost more weight, they would have to hold my next chemo series back until I regained some = and that I do not want.

Next week I start my third of four chemo series. After that, the final series is scheduled for Oct 31, November 1, and 2. The end of next week also sees the end of my radiation = which is what is making my throat sore. Basically, the peripheral radiation from shooting the tumor is cooking the lower part of my larynx, and the upper swallowing muscles in my esophagus. About two weeks after I finish radiation therapy, I should start to notice a lessening in discomfort when I swallow = after that things get better in a hurry.

For those of you curious about the mouthwash, it was easy to find with Google =

The formula:

For a 240 ml Bottle


Cortef 10 mg (cortesone)

Ratio-Nystatin susp 100,00 U/ML (anti fungal)

PMS-Lidocaine viscous 2% 100ml

Lens Plus 360ml (saline solution) which contains salt 0.9%

It does not taste as bad as you might think, but it’s also not a flavor that I am likely to become enamoured of. The taste leaves your mouth fairly quickly, and it does make it possible to swallow somewhat easier, but care and temperature control must be exercised.

Energy levels are pretty low now too = I can still do what I used to, just not quite as fast, and it takes a little more for me to convince myself to get moving. The initial burst of 180 paces a minute when walking is a thing of the past, but the walk still goes at the usual 120 paces a minute.

We have had rain here the past three days, so walking gets a little more complex = have to watch for breaks in the rain, and hope they are long enough to let you stay dry. I have still managed a minimum of 5 kilometers a day (~3 miles), but getting started is sometimes problematic. Since getting the magical mouthwash, I have been taking in enough extra calories that I have a bit more energy.

I got very few photos of the garden this year, because garden photo season seemed to coincide with the start of my cancer treatments. Tomatoes didn’t started ripening until after that, so I have almost no photos of any tomatoes with color this year, which is a shame, because I have all of the Kozula collection in the garden, and most of them are uniquely and beautifully colored. Weather and time permitting, I will try and get some photos of the different varieties this weekend = they likely won’t get posted until I am back here next weekend, if I do take them, as I don’t like to waste good garden time on editing photos. I need some photo documentation of what was grown this year for myself as well, because I know I will not remember what color half of the varieties were without it.

The forecast for the next few days has lows of 3 C, which means the tomatoes may get hit with frost this weekend = we often get a touch of frost here, when the forecast is 3 or less. I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, the call goes out to come strip the plants, and I start ripping beans down and inspecting for frost damage before storing to dry. Melons and squash are close enough to the ground they may not be affected if there’s only a light touch, but a killing frost means I start processing and freezing squash immediately, and melons may or may not be usable right away. Seed harvest will get a big boot in the butt = do it or lose them. It looks like most of my walks while I am home this weekend, will be in the garden, for one reason or other.

Well, I’m back at Kelowna again. Got most of what had to be done, done = I think. Got to take the photos of the Kozula collection, but the plants and fruit are showing the effects of weather in most case. Considering that it’s already October 10, it’s hardly surprising. A real different year. I still have grasshoppers flitting around, if the day warms up enough for them to move, and there are still yellowjackets showing up in unusual places, hiding out to try and survive a little longer.

My Chires Baby corn has decided it will tassel and start ears now, thank you. Supposed to be 75-85 days = I planted it first week of June = 120 days, and still no cob formation.

This long row of squash foliage is one hill each of Musquee de Provence, and Muscade de Provence. I wanted to see if they were actually the same variety that had just been misnamed someplace along the road. It seems they are the same thing = I can see no difference in the fruit from the two hills. I duplicated the experiment in a different area of the garden, with the same result, but lower production.

This barrow load was hiding under the squash foliage in the above photo. 94 Kilograms, or 208 lbs.

The greenhouse has become bean drying central for the moment = also onion and what ever else makes it in here.

There are a couple of cucumbers and a few tomatoes waiting for me to get to seeding them, but they will hold until I get home at the end of the week.

The majority of the beans have been picked but not threshed. There are a few bush beans that need to be done,and a couple of lima beans that I am leaving up as long as I can, because they haven't started to get dry pods yet. Got very few chick peas, a much smaller crop of soy beans than I expected, and far more Ethiopian Lentils than I expected. Now I just have to find out if I like eating them = I hope so, as they are a very good source of protein and are high in calories as well = and they are dead easy to grow. I tried munching a couple while they were immature, and they are as sweet as peas, but somewhat different flavored.

I have this one week of treatments left = actually only four days = then I go home to stay, and get to wear myself out in the garden, instead of wearing out my shoes walking. I am hoping for at least a few days in the garden before frost hits hard, but likely won't get it. Fall rains started last week, and the forecast is for lowering night temperatures = down to 2C Saturday. Being home and able to work in the garden will definitely speed my recovery along = too many things to do to lay around, regardless of how little I feel like getting started. Keeping myself moving is the best way for me to rebuild, provided I stoke enough calories in = and Shaoling will see to that. I look forward to Friday, and going home. They didn't wear me down as much as I expected with the radiation or chemo, and I have been lucky enough to have missed most of the side effects of the chemo that were possible. I have lost about 70% of my hair, but not all = yet. I expected to be able to polish the dome before this = I still may, but it doesn't seem like the second round of chemo cost me any hair at all.

And the adventure continues.


1 comment:

  1. I've no idea whether this would help, but when I had an accident a few years ago and smashed my mouth in badly, I coped with the pain by drinking loads of tea with a spoonful of honey in it. Unprocessed beekeeper honey is best by far (I am a beekeeper), and if you can get tincture of propolis (plant resins collected by bees) that's also excellent.