good dirt


It’s hard to sit down to work at the computer these days when the weather has been so beautiful, the soil so warm and the garden so beckoning. And as if I needed any more reasons to be outside, medical researchers in the UK have now found evidence that
some bacteria found in soil may produce serotonin and help ward off depression. (You can read more about it on Grist.) And all this time I thought my joy in gardening was just a poetic attachment to being close to nature!

As for my garden…even though my winter wheat is still not ready to harvest and hogging up my prime growing area (argh!), I’ve managed to sow a few crops in other pockets of the garden–more herbs, lettuces, peas, corn, pumpkins, melons. I also planted some bare root raspberries and started a “sunflower house” from seed for my kids.

The sunflower house is a great idea I first read about in Sharon Lovejoy’s sweet book about gardening projects for children called Sunflower Houses. It’s basically a structure made up of “walls” of sunflowers with Morning Glories trailing up the stalks and across the top to form a “roof.” I have wonderful childhood memories of sitting for hours inside a pea or bean arbor, privately picking and eating while daydreaming amidst the tangled foliage and filtered light. Those experiences created a lifetime love of outdoor sanctuaries and garden structures (bean tepees, tree forts etc.) which I now build for my children (and myself!) But the sunflower house is a new one for me. I’m really eager to see how it turns out.

In other gardening news, I recently discovered Veggie Trader which seems to be a cool new way to trade, buy or sell homegrown produce. I always do this informally with friends and neighbors but I think it would be fun to extend this in a larger local network (especially when I’m drowning in zucchini!) The Oooby Ning group is another site that’s interesting in a similar way. I really enjoy the mix of having a broad virtual community around an activity that is by definition so local and terrestrial.

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