As a new homebuilder or homeowner, it is widely recognized that once the furniture is moved in and boxes unpacked, the focus moves to the landscaping and outer finishing touches. Especially with a new home build, the ground surrounding your new home is probably nothing but dirt.


After spending months and even years getting your dream home built, the thought of spending hours digging holes and planting greenery might send you over the edge.  Hang tight! Good news is on the horizon. 

Most of you have probably heard conversations or read articles related to the benefits of gardening. (Enter weird, fluty music) “Be one with the earth,” and, “Connect with Mother Nature,” perhaps you mostly heard, “blah, blah, blah…”  Before you dismiss similar conversations with people you might have labeled as quirky “tree-hugging” friends, stop and listen; they might be on to something. After you read this article you can add to the discussion, amazing and enthralling your friends who had nearly given up on your green thumb.  As reported in BBC News, research has unearthed (sorry, pun intended) Mycobacterium vaccae, which is present in soil. M. vaccae for short (pronounced “vah-kay”), is a strain of bacteria that triggers serotonin production in the body.  If you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t read any of the thousands of articles extolling the virtues of serotonin, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Seratonin is a chemical that transmits signals to the brain related to mood, appetite, sleep, and memory.  Depressed people have low levels of serotonin; happy people have higher levels of serotonin.  So playing in the dirt might make one happier?

In the mice studied, those treated with the M. vaccae bacteria were less anxious and showed more concentration towards learning than the mice that were not given the bacteria.  Additionally, BBC News cites a study by UK and Dutch scientists to recreate an enzyme similar to another bacterium found in soil named Clostridium sporogenes. The bacterium has shown to destroy cancer cells in a tumor without killing healthy tissue.


The news for dirt digging just keeps getting better.  If you just built a house or you have a yard that needs some TLC, grab the whole family and have them help you dig in the dirt. Your kids might turn into honor students, your spouse might be in such a good mood you’ll get that fishing pole or sapphire necklace you’ve been eyeing, and maybe you’ll even hit the lottery! That last one was wishful thinking.  Make the outside of your home as warm and inviting as the inside all while building a foundation of a healthy family!