It's a perfect time to layout new garden beds for next season. You can go through the work of double digging them in amended with compost, but that can be a LOT of work and disturbs the beneficial fungal network that may already be there. If root crops can wait a year, lasagna beds take a lot of the work out of it, and provide the microbes plenty of food to build up a great soil.
Lasangna Bed Recipe (you can vary the ingredients based on available materials)
- Spread a thin layer of compost or fruit/vegetable waste. This will attract earthworms as it decomposes.
- Layer cardboard or several layers of newspaper (non-glossy). This will act as a biodegradable weed barrier.
- A layer of grass clippings can provide nitrogen
- A leafy layer will provide additional organic matter
- Cover with compost, which will kick-start the microbial activity
- Finish with mulch which will protect the layers below
- By Spring your new garden will be ready to plant
Speaking of soil life-
Soil contains microbes that can make us happy! Mycobacterium vaccae, a strain of bacteria found in soil, has been found to trigger a release of serotonin a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being, happiness and decreased anxiety. This soil bacteria is also being looked at for cancer treatment, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis therapy.
The "hygiene hypothesis" is also gaining traction in the scientific community. Evidence is growing that supports exposure to dust and microbes, as opposed to a super sanitary environment, as a young child can reduce the chance for allergies and asthma as they grow. In one study kids from livestock farms had nearly half the chance of having allergic reactions to common allergens; dust mites, mold and pollen.
Grounding or Earthing-
Grounding or Earthing refers to the practice of connecting to the earth without anything between a person's skin. This can be done by walking around on dirt barefoot, or lying down on the ground. The belief is that in our modern world of thick soled shoes, floors and concrete sidewalks our bodies are no longer benefitting from the electron flow to and from the earth. Grounding/Earthing may be a simple, natural, and yet effective environmental strategy against many common health disorders, and an essential element in the health equation.
So get outside, get dirty, happy and healthy and enjoy your week!