Why does dirt under the fingernails feel so good?

My postage stamp-sized backyard vegetable garden is my refuge each morning and afternoon during my hectic workday. As soon as the frost broke in March, I was turning the dirt to put in radishes, lettuce, onions, sweet peas, kale and carrots. Tomatoes and peppers went in a couple of weeks ago. Zucchini, bans and cucumbers followed last weekend.

I love seeing the new shoots pop up out of the ground, and playing a cat-and-mouse game with the local rabbit populations (hint: fox and coyote urine is commercially available, and makes a great repellent).

But mostly, I love turning over the soil.

Not too many years ago, the little parcel I staked out for my garden was nothing but heavy clay and rocks. After removing as many rocks as possible, I built some raised beds and began a steady regimen of feeding the soil. Two compost bins in our backyard turn lawn clippings and kitchen waste into rich organic matter. In the fall, leaves raked from the yard are piled in the garden, and mixed into the soil, along with some buffalo manure I haul in from our small herd. And an early fall planting of clover after harvesting the vegetables adds rich nitrogen to the soil.

This weekend, as I was getting ready to plant another batch of beans, I turned over the soil, and couldn’t help getting my hands down in the dirt. The coal-black soil was teaming with fat earthworms, and carried a rich fertile smell.

Fresh vegetables enjoyed only after hours after picking are one of the key rewards of backyard gardening. So, too, is a little dirt under the fingernails.

Tom Casey
Amy Clark
Angelika Torres
Anthony Zolezzi
Chelsea Vurciaga
Dave Carter
Elizabeth Chatellier, MA, RDN
Linda Bonvie
Liz Latham
Sebrina Zerkus Smith
Guest Voices

Is Hydroponic Farming Organic?

Here at Wild Oats we’re all about organics and informing our community on how to nourish their bodies and minds with the best. In most recent news, it’s hydroponic and aquaponic farming, in fact, this alternative method of producing fruits

Five Thanksgiving Sides Dishes You Need to Try

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and although the talk is all about Turkey, sides might be my favorite part of the entire meal. While on the hunt for some new favorite side dishes, I found these delicious recipes that

Wild Oats Announces Next Step in Affordable Organics Movement

First off, we would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to our amazing customers for their ongoing support as we continue to lead the effort to make affordable organics available to all. As many of you know, Wild Oats has

Eating Versus Drinking Calories: What’s the Difference?

According to researchers, your brain registers liquid calories differently than it does from eating solid foods. For example, say you were to drink a tall glass of orange juice. OJ is naturally high in sugar, and sugar contains calories. An

Lovely White Beans with Rice

Over fifteen years ago, the mother of my first boyfriend taught me how to make the most delicious white beans with rice. White beans add a wonderful body to any rice or pasta dish. This recipe is based on her

Email Signup

Follow Us Online

Latest Posts

Our Bloggers