McMurray Memorial Seed Bank

In the Fall 2014 issue of the Seeds of Diversity member magazine I wrote an article about my friends Dan & Val McMurray, who from their home in Wynndel, BC were the stewards of thousands of varieties of vegetable seeds. Not only did their love of open pollinated varieties probably manage to save and revive dozens of seeds that would have surely gone extinct, but their dedication to spreading them to other growers around the world far and wide became well known in the seed saving world.

Val McMurray passed away in 2010, and Dan passed away in 2012. Their amazing seed collection was then passed on to The College of the Rockies in Creston, BC where it is now being cared for, catalogued, and grown out (you may have noticed a few mentions around the site of myself helping with the grow outs). I wanted to share the article here now with readers of this site, as I and many others found the McMurray’s a true inspiration, and the legacy of their seeds living on is a testament to what one or two seed savers can do.

A Legacy Of Seeds


If you like those kind of articles, please consider joining Seeds of Diversity – members get access to the member seed catalogue once a year, and four magazines to their mailbox a year. Plus the warm fuzzies knowing that you’re helping a whole bunch of ecological research, projects, and preservation.

Thanks to Tatiana as well for supplying photographs.

Weekly Update: More New Articles

Another weekly update from your friendly neighbourhood seed bank!

Things haven’t moved as quickly as I generally would have liked the past week or so. Lots of new developments, personally and with the seed bank.

But there are some new articles up for you to peruse if you want:

  • First is a germination testing how-to so you can find out your germination rates of your saved seed, and what it all means.
  • Next is a plant pollination chart, detailing how different kinds of edible crops are pollinated (useful seed-saving information so you can determine the best kind of isolation!)
  • That’s all for now, more announcements coming in the next week.

    New Article & Seed Bank Info

    Well, there’s been lots of bank-end stuff going on this week, so not too many new changes to the website.

    I however am extremely excited to be finished importing all the data into our new database! This will make keeping track of the seeds about 1000 times easier then keeping it all in a spreadsheet like I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. When I first started this bank I had no idea how fast it could grow, and how many awesome people there are wanting to donate to the bank.

    I even finished up a simple report, in a handy .pdf format. While I’m working on getting all the information up on the website of all the different varieties in the bank, sometimes a handy pdf is easier to read.

  • If you want to read that .pdf which contains growth/historical information on the varieties in the bank, click here.
  • As for the articles this week, we have one new one up. It’s a simple chart, on what plant species will cross-pollinate with others. It’s a handy guide so if you’re saving seed, you can look up to see what other plants (mostly weeds) will cross pollinate with what you’re trying to save.

  • Vegetable Cross-pollination Guide
  • More articles coming up this week, along with some new exciting announcements within the next month.

    New Articles & Additions To The Bank

    Busy week this week. With summer (finally!) taking off, and hot weather upon us, I’m rushing around isolation and coaxing the tomatoes for seed into the seed bank.

    I’m also very excited to announce that I’m in discussions with two other seed banks – both also located in Canada (one local to me, the other is the seed library run by Seeds of Diversity) so we can work together with distributing varieties and backing up each others stock to ensure safe preservation of our varieties. More news on this later, but I’m extremely excited about this new development!

    There have been two new additions to the seed bank this week:

  • Tomato ‘Pruden’s Purple’
  • Tomato ‘Red Robin’
  • Thank you to the donors of that seed!

    A few new articles up this week as well:

  • Seed Saving Techniques – Beans & Peas
  • Seed Viability Chart
  • Three or four new articles will be popping up over the week as well, stay tuned for those.

    I would also like to announce that one of the varieties the Populuxe Seed Bank is sheparding this year, the Slocan Snow Peas is finally starting to flower! I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this variety tastes.

    Until next time!

    And Away We Go

    Been working like a busy little bee the past week or so!

  • I’ve been trying desperately to find some more private seed banks around the world to link to, and I’ve found a handful but not many. If you’re aware of any, please feel free to shoot me an email via the contact form, or leave a message on this post with a link.
  • The first of the brand new articles up are tomato seed saving and pepper seed saving.
  • I’ve also been going through and adding photos to the seeds in the bank where I have images. And some point I’ll have photos for all of them (at some point). Ones currently added are ‘Black From Tula’, ‘Dr. Wyche’s Yellow’, ‘Fantome Du Laos’, ‘German Cascade’, ‘Green Zebra’, ‘Japanese Black Trifele’, ‘Moskvich’, ‘Purple Prince’, ‘Tlacolula Ribbed’, ‘Yellow Pear’, ‘Yellow Ruffled’, and a few others.
  • I’ll also be hosting the weekly garden chat on Twitter about seed saving this coming Monday, 6PM PST (9PM EST). If you’re on twitter follow the #gardenchat hashtag on Monday night to follow along! After the chat I’ll be sure to post a link to the transcript so even if you can’t follow along or aren’t on Twitter you’ll be able to read the conversation.
  • That’s all for now!