Have you ever wondered why soil smells like it does? Organic compounds in the soil are called Geosmins. That earthy smell is produced by a certain bacterium in the soil. Imagine a whole world of microscopic organisms eating organic matter in our soils creating a bouquet of earthy smells. All plants have a form of this organic compound in their systems, but some plants smell or taste like soil more than others. Beets for instance, have a higher content that makes them taste like soil in certain varieties. Most gardeners like the smell of freshly tilled soil, it stimulates their senses.
Working in the soil doesn’t only heighten your senses, it may increase your immunity as well. As you work in the garden, you are absorbing Vitamin D from the sun and you are exposing yourself to different bacteria residing in the soil. A lot of the bacteria in the soil are “good bacteria” that can help promote a healthy immune system. By digging in the soil, you will inhale, touch and ingest the good bacteria that help balance your immune system. Yes, you may be eating a little dirt unintentionally, it is good for you!
Don’t be afraid to get some dirt under your nails. The physical and mental challenge of growing a garden can benefit anyone young and old. Being in nature can stimulate your senses and keep you in a healthy state of mind. The smell, sounds, sights, taste and textures of plants can uplift your spirits and quiet your mind. Whether you like growing indoor plants or vegetable-packed gardens, you can find satisfaction in the sweet smell of soil.