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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dirt Therapy

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin.

Over the last few days, due to a major kitchen renovation, I have been unable to get outside into my garden.  For someone who loves to spend time with their hands in the dirt all weekend, the absence of doing so has a strange effect on me.

Call me weird (or not), but because I have not been able to garden, I began to feel a wave of the blues coming on.  Symptoms were irritability, snappy at family members, grumpy and just a feeling of being down.  Some would have been the so called 'seasonal depression' due to our winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, or the stress of the kitchen renovation, but I certainly was not myself until today and now I know why.

Because the builders were jack hammering up all of the old floor tiles, my wife, me, plus our two dogs had the pleasure of spending the entire day in the carport in 10C temps with the occational rain shower.  Some may think that this would be a miserable way to spend their day, with the thumping sound of a jack hammer in the background all day, but not I.  I spent the entire day in the garden, weeding, fertilising and just performing a bit of general maintenance like composting and talking to the chickens.  It was such a good feeling to plunge my hands into the dirt, and with it all my worries and melancholy faded away.  Such relief from such a simple act. 

All I can add is the simple fact that working in my food garden is worth more than all the shrinks in the world.  Free therapy, with the side effect of free food thrown in!  Who could ask for more than that?  I feel calm and looking forward to another day of jack hammering so that I can spend the day in my front garden doing some weeding.

Wacko or not?  What do you think?  Do you feel the need to get out there in your garden after an absence, just to take away the blues?


Laura @ Getting There said...

I agree. Gardening gets rid of the blues faster than anything else, for me.

The Younger Rachael said...

I've found that days I spend an hour in the garden early in day are days with a lot more energy than days with no garden time. Lethargic are the style of no-garden days. I'm with you and I'm willing to be called weird, but garden time is the best upper I can find.

sawn61 said...

Ahhhhh! A man after my own heart. Where were you 32 years ago when I was looking for the perfect helpmate. I know the feelings you have described. When I HAVE TO DO so many other things, you know the things that MUST be done, I feel so robbed of MY precious time which is in the yard and the garden amongst all my beautiful flower beds and the like.Making better soil with my composting and rearranging my perrenials and annuals in order to have something growing and blooming around me at all times.It seems I was reading one of my own posts. Love your entries.(Sue or sawn61 From Ky. USA)

Paula said...

I totally agree. We are having a late, cool, and extremely wet spring, and after twenty straight days of rain, I was feeling very moody. One precious day of sunshine was spent weeding and otherwise cleaning up in the garden, and I felt a whole lot better. Could be sun therapy, could be dirt therapy- all I know is it works.

Nikki said...

I'm with ya! When I can get outside and garden, everything is better.

ChristyACB said...


If only the shrinks of the world would realize that gardening is far superior to pills then everyone would feel great...and have great looking gardens. :)

Gavin said...

It is such a wonderful feeling of joy and fulfilment. Rain or shine, it warms the heart.

Christy is right. If we could just get everyone out into the garden, then the pharmacutical companies would go broke!


gardengrl said...

Absolutely! I consider gardening, all aspects right down to weeding, and riding my Harley, therapy.
Now, if I could figure out a way to make a living doing it, I would be in heaven.

Belinda said...

Hi Gav,

There was some research done a while ago that proves that you're right. If we could get everyone out in the garden those companies probably would go broke.

Kind Regards

Chookie said...

I'm not thrilled by weeding, especially as in my case it's attempting to beat back the kikuyu, but yes, gardening is a fantastic mood lifter. Until you do what I did on Sunday!

Mariana said...

I totally understand what you mean. You just feel that no psychological session can help you more than the thing you like most in the world.
It is like Add therapy for children suffering that condition. Sometimes it´s not conventional therapy the one that helps them, but an innovative one that nails it.
Hope you have fun in the garden!

Anonymous said...

Here here Gavin, I love nothing better than my "dirt therapy" (I just love that term, and it's now in full use around here!!! LOL). With a couple of whippersnappers around here "my time" is now "my dirt time".


Linda Woodrow said...

Warm fuzzies whilst playing creatively in a meditative state with sensuously delightful things - when you think about it, it's small wonder that gardening makes you feel so good! It's an old line of mine but I can't think of any way to say it better - if I didn't have a garden I would feel both deprived and irresponsible.

dixiebelle said...

Just pottering around, bit of watering, checking on seedlings is enough to ground me & release some stress. Doing some big project, harvesting the goodies, or growing something that isn't supposed to grow in your area, that is THE BEST feeling!!

Purrfect Haven said...

totally agree, rob me of the garden time and rob me of my well being. Helen

Amongchosen said...

I feel the same. I need 3 or so hours out there or I don't feel like the day has had anything accomplished. I LOVE cleaning out my garden, it is like an artist's palette I can do since I'm not talented to paint. I love, love LOVE my glaser swiss hoe that I don't have to break my back hoeing with, as well. I must say, I didn't like the garden as well until I got my Peaceful Valley Farm Supply hoe. Hats off to the magnificent organic gardener, Elliot Coleman for inventing it. :-)