I always thought that it was the lack of green space and a relationship with nature that made anger and crime the problem that it is in the city. All that noise, congestion, and asphalt can’t be good for you. Science has discovered that it goes deeper than that. The human psyche is more connected to the soil than people realize.
The modern disassociation with soil affects a lot more than diet, or knowing where food comes from. It turns out that the microbial life in good soil – the stuff not treated with agri-chemicals – is healing to the human body and mind. It’s not just the flowers or fruit we humans need from the soil, but the substance surrounding plant’s roots.
Reading about this earlier, the first thing that came to mind was my son as a toddler. The boy had this thing for eating dirt – constantly. Maybe it went far deeper than kids this age putting everything they find in their mouth. Perhaps it was instinct. His body telling him he needed something from the soil in the flower beds around the deck. He has allergies, but they were never severe enough for medication, and these scientists have connected allergies to disconnection to the soil. It sounds pretty crazy, but it seems it’s highly possible given that people who live in sterile environments have more problems with allergies and illness than those that spend their lives covered in dirt and pollen.
Is it really just the flowers that bring so many to become so addicted to gardening, or does getting dirty have some sway? Sure, the lovely colors and shapes of flowers are attractive, and do have an effect on a person’s mental health and mood, but a gardener who grows in soil for any outcome is going to also get dirty. By the same token, people who live beyond urban areas will likely have a flower garden, or a vegetable garden, or both. Studies have shown that this portion of the population also has a lot less mental health issues.
Dirt – it’s good for what ails you.
Suffering from depression and mood swings? Having a bad day?Make some mud pies. Spend more time outdoors. Pull some weeds. Grow something in real soil. Feed your soil, because the microbial life in it is better for your flowers and your harvest, along with being better for the humans who come in contact with it.
You came from the soil. You are sustained by the soil. One day you will return to the soil to give future life to everything around us. Human beings are microbial too. Over 90% of the human body is made of microbes. Humans are an ecosystem in themselves that are proving to get out of balance from a lack of connecting with the soil. Your microbes need soil microbes for mental and physical health benefits.
Now I totally understand my obsession with dirt. I’m happiest when I’m wearing it, and rarely get sick.
Got no dirt because you’re an urban dweller? Get some SmartPots or GeoPots, because you can grow with straight soil in those.