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Get dirty!

By Melissa Kane, Eco friendly Mum

In this gorgeous autumn weather I’m finding myself drawn outdoors, more specifically to my garden and the dirt within.

What is so appealing about gardening? The return on my vegie patch is self evident reason for pride and joy, the bounty at the end of the growing period is so rewarding, tasty and nutritious. Lately I’m all about flowers for next spring and summer, as I recently added a new garden bed I can dedicate to flowers (albeit herbs that flower) and another bed dedicated to rosemary, my love affair with rosemary has gotten to the stage that I eat it faster than I can grow it, so I think four more bushes should cover it!

But why else does playing with dirt feel so good, is it just being outside and reconnecting with nature? Is it the physical exercise releasing endorphins into our systems giving us a natural high? Or does dirt hold a secret of its own?

I’ve read some articles that suggest a naturally occurring bacterium named Mycobacterium vaccae has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety, as well as improving cognitive function and possibly even treat other diseases.

What does that mean for kids? It means when they want to build mud pies, or make bike jumps at the park, or swim in puddles after the rain or go yabbying, I encourage and give a sigh about the extra load of washing, the photos I have on their return home are priceless, they have the biggest smiles.

The kids also love watching the vegies grow, corn is fascinating because it gets so tall and it’s so tasty cooked on the BBQ in its skin, asking them to pick peas is great for them, but bad for me, they end up eating them and coming back inside empty handed. It has helped in them trying new food and getting them involved in gardening. PS they are great at helping with the watering.

So to give my bacterium a fighting chance organic gardening is of course the way to go and constantly giving back to my soil with compost, cow or chicken poo, worm juice, coffee grinds, mulching, crop rotation, companion planting all ensure the best outcome.

So if you’re feeling down in the dumps head outside to the garden and get a natural high, have some dirty thoughts of your own!