Dirt: The Gardener’s Drug of Choice

Hand in DirtPsst… I got what you need right here. A whole dime of high quality stuff. You ain’t finding anything better. The richest loam this side of the border, that is a bona fide fact, my friend. You will not find a finer grade of dirt, no way, no how.

I bet you did not know that when you are out there tending those flowers and planting those seeds that you were doping yourself, did you? Turns out that dirt harbors a friendly little bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae. When this bacteria infects humans, it affects our brains and causes it to make extra serotonin.

Serotonin is a funny drug for our bodies. It helps to control everything from how much we eat to how well we can remember to… wait for it… how good we feel. More of the happy, happy serotonin, the hap-hap-happier we feel.

So how does one catch this bacteria and reap the benefits? It is just as easy as playing in the dirt. Do a little barefoot walking, maybe pot up a few seedlings or two, get some weeding in and, voila, you got yourself a genuine dirt high.

This probably explains why many gardeners regard weeding as a meditation rather than a chore. The very act of touching the soil with bare skin, can bring about a chemically induced serenity. Not bad, eh?

So here we are, a bunch of strung out garden junkies, just fiending for our next Mycobacterium vaccae fix. Come on, sister, can you spare a girl a trowel? Just so I can get through to the next day?

13 thoughts on “Dirt: The Gardener’s Drug of Choice
  1. I know exactly what you mean. When my mother and I are feeling depressed at all we just want to go on a vacation somewhere green and fruitful where we can run around barefoot all day long.

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  2. i had no idea why i was addicted! i have recently been telling people that i have a weeding sickness, but this explains so much! thanks for clearing it up, hanna! :)

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  3. Now I understand why I felt “buzzed” and calm after re-potting my veggie seedlings last night! Thank you for explaining :)

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  4. I’ve been gardening for years and never knew there was a specific bacteria to blame for my enjoyment. Now it makes sense how I can get lost in the garden for hours.

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  5. This is terrific, and only proves my point. I always tell my family that I feel much better when I’m playing in the dirt!
    I also like the potting soil and fertilizer aisle at the home and garden store!
    Great site!

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  6. Ok, now…Which dirt is the best? That’s the stuff I want to dig in? Will the release of this article drive soil prices sky high? I’m going to stock up right now…

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  7. OK, now I have a good excuse for not cleaning the dirt out from under my fingernails. Slow-release anti-depressant, maybe? I do always feel better after I weed. Wonder if not wearing gloves makes a difference? Hm. Maybe it’s time to go bare more often, hands-wise I mean.

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  8. I guess that’s one of the reasons I get depressed after the ground freezes. I have actually planted bulbs here in PA in December if the ground wasn’t frozen and I found a bag of spring bulbs at 75% off! When I think back, my love of dirt began as a small child. My mom would save the foil pie tins that pot pies came in and I was allowed to go outside dig in the dirt, add water to it, and let it bake in the sun! Actually, that still sounds pretty dang fun to me and I’m 42! LOL!

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  9. I had no idea that dirt was so good for you. No wonder when it rains I get all depressed that I can’t go outside and play in the dirt. I guess I should just play in the mud. Fabulous post!

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