This is the time of year we anxiously await each 7 day forecast hoping warmer weather is not a “figleaf” of our imagination. We want to stretch our wings in the yard and garden after a long cold winter. While we talk about the weather, namely sunshine and air temperature, the lawn and garden responds to warming soil temperatures. I like to keep a soil thermometer like the one pictured to the right in my truck. When the soil thermometer reads 60 degrees plus, that’s when things really take off in the landscape. Here in SW Michigan it is usually between April 15 and May 1. At that point the grass greens and grows, crabgrass seed germinates, weeds take off and the roots of plants wake up from their winter slumber. Speaking of soil, I’ve become fond of using leaf compost and coffee grounds as amendments to my clay soil. Not only does it improve the structure of my soil, but now I find there is an added benefit to having a soiled reputation. I recently read a study that concluded digging in the dirt may boost your mood and help you cope with stress. Researchers found that mice that inhaled soil tried harder to work out a stressful problem than mice who weren’t into dirt. The theory is that soil stimulates the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. So when the economy or your job becomes too stressful, find a compost pile and stick your head in it! I always knew a good sense of “humus” was healthy!