Dirt may be the new Prozac. Working in soil raises your spirits, in part
because you pick up cheerful germs while digging. University of Colorado
researcher Christopher Lowry injected mice with dirt-dwelling Mycobacterium
vaccae and found increased serotonin in the critters’ prefrontal cortex.
Getting your own dose is as easy as taking a walk in the wilderness or planting
something. You don’t need to wait until spring: even in the dead of winter you
can sprout basil seeds in a pot on your sunniest windowsill.
I spent my winter break on environmental planting, somewhere in Surrey; all native plants.
Hawthorns (Crataegus), roses (Rosa nutkana and Rosa pisocarpa), cedars (Thuja), elderberry, willows (Salix hookeriana), spruce, pine,
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLHT