Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

Not many people on the planet today appreciate the soil in their yards.

When was the last time you thought about just how important dirt is and how important it is to all life? Soil is not just some dirty stuff that’s here to hold up our plants. So much of life depends on soil.

Many ancient civilizations worshiped the soil. They knew how important it was for growing their food and the food for many of the animals they consumed. Many ancient civilizations also lived in dwellings made from water and soil – mud huts.

Today, soil is very underrated. Soil takes a long time to make. An inch of soil can take 500 to 1,000 years to form. Today, there is an increasing need for more soil on the planet. With our increasing global population, there is a need for more land and soil for food production.

I became aware of the importance of gardening, which, of course, involves dirt, soon after 9/11. After that day, I started noticing an enormous interest in gardening. People seemed to have an urge to not just “be in nature,” but to get into nature.

Gardening seems to be a natural choice for a lot of them. Many commented that for the first time in their lives, they wanted to get their hands in the dirt, plant something and watch it grow. They wanted the peace they found in gardening.

Today, scientists have discovered there is actually natural antidepressants in the soil. Mycobacterium vaccae is the bacteria that’s under study and has been found to have a natural effect on our neurons, just like the drug Prozac. This soil bacteria is thought to stimulate serotonin production, which can make you happier, calmer and relaxed.

Gardeners have long known the actual physical act of gardening can be a stress reducer and a very calming hobby to have. Another advantage to gardening, besides the pleasure we get from just growing things, is this natural antidepressant that’s found in the soil, with no adverse health effects. In today’s stressful world, everyone should be a gardener.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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