Getting My Hands Dirty

By Kyla Jacobo, DPT

Growing up in California, I have grown accustomed to an abundance of produce at my fingertips. The colorful blossoms lining the road are just a hint of the beauty that is to come. My favorites are the crisp, white peaches and the sweet, orange clementines that my family affectionately refers to as ‘nature’s candy’. Farmer’s markets and produce stands pop up throughout town, offering fresh produce, local honey, and homemade cheeses. 

Sounds pretty great, right?

But I wanted more…

I wanted to get my hands dirty. I wanted to know exactly where my produce came from. What was put in the soil?  What was sprayed (or not sprayed) on the crops? And most importantly, I wanted my kids to see that fruits and vegetables are not just something you pick up in the produce aisle of the grocery store. 

I wanted them to be a part of planting, watering, and picking our vegetables. I wanted them to get excited about eating the foods that nourish their bodies. I wanted them to get their hands dirty, too.

So…I drew up plans for two raised bed vegetable gardens in our backyard!

It was quite the adventure.

I never imagined it would take 15 large bags of organic soil to fill such a small area…and I never knew how heavy those bags could be! 

After a lot of sweat and hard work, we were ready to plant our seedlings. My son and I took a trip to the nearby nursery. I loved seeing the excitement on his face as we picked out all types of lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, and other vegetables.

My kids were a part of the whole process, which made it all the more special. Each day we would rush out to see what veggies mother nature had given us. We eagerly picked it and rationed it between the 4 of us…just so we could all taste the fruits of our labor.

I have much to learn about gardening. My hope is that my garden will be larger and more fruitful with each passing year. But my first experience taught me that the earth is what gives us life. The soil, the sun, the rain. It nourishes us, sustains us, gives us health and prevents chronic disease. I believe it was of Divine design.

So often in our lives of convenience, we lose sight of this. So today…take a moment, reflect on the miracle that is Earth, and get your hands dirty.