It seems there is a ‘global day’ to celebrate almost anything now – even belly laughing. (Jan 24th) Gardeners seem to be a pretty happy breed anyway, so you’d expect plenty of laughter to ring out from the school garden or allotment and now we know why. Researchers have discovered that all you need to do is get your fingers dirty and harvest your own crops. At Our Flower Patch we have both areas covered.
We’ve discovered independent research that identifies key environmental triggers for two important chemicals that boost our immune system and keep us happy – serotonin and dopamine. Getting your hands dirty in the garden, handling the soil by weeding, sowing and planting triggers the release of serotonin, the ‘happy chemical’ whilst harvesting your own crops leads to a flush of dopamine released in the reward centre of brain, triggering a state of bliss or mild euphoria. It’s what our hunter gatherer ancestors experienced when they found food and now is also triggered by going on a shopping spree. Gardening is better for you and far less expensive on a daily basis, in our opinion
At school and at home we are very dirt-conscious community but ironically dirt-deficiency in childhood is implicated in contributing to quite a spectrum of illnesses including allergies, asthma and mental disorders. Letting children get up close and personal with soil on a regular basis is a good idea. Of course, if you are going to do that, garden organically like we do and don’t resort to chemical sprays. Ten minutes’ speed weeding by hand on a frequent basis is the way forward. Our children love it.
It will soon be time to start sowing seeds for your summer harvest of fabulous flowers. If that’s not worth smiling about, I don’t know what is. If you are a teacher or homeschooling parent who would like to use the garden to teach aspects of the national curriculum and keep your children happy and healthy, why not take a look at our outside education programme? It’s perfect timing for the coming growing season.
With thanks to Claire Spiller for her photographs.