A kitchen gardener's blog

Dirt Can Make You Happy

photo that goes with blog

October 29, 2010 - A friend once told me, that all the gardeners she knew were happy people. Well it turns out there is scientific research to back her up. I just read in the Oct/Nov issue of Organic Gardening, that researchers have discovered a organism in soil that increases our serotonin levels, making us more relaxed, happier and smarter. The short article left me with more questions than answers, like should I garden gloveless? So I googled mycobacterium vaccae, and found tons of info.

It turns out that Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural, harmless soil bacterium. Researchers think we ingest or breath it in when we spend time in nature. This got me to thinking, a bacteria would not live in the sterile soil environment created when chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used. Yet another reason to avoid chemicals in the garden.

I always assumed, that the happy feeling I had while gardening, came from being exposed to cheerful flowers like the sunchoke pictured above. I still think flowers and all the vitamin D I absorb help, but so does getting dirty. So, the computer code I have been writing can wait, I am going out to spend some time in the sunshine, getting dirty.

You can read more about this here:



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