We should all play in the dirt every once in a while. But months ago, when she asked, I didn’t wanna…
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She asked me to help her turn over some more of the garden bed. But I didn’t wanna.
She flashed a winsome smile and shook the Silver Queen seed packet in my direction. But I was tired. Errands would be eating up my precious afternoon. I had an office full of boxes to unpack. A floor half sanded, needing refinishing. A life in desperate need of order.
On top of that, the sky was a deep penetrating-kind-of blue, and the lake was dappled with mini firework flashes of sun kisses. I asked her if we should kayak out to the sandbar instead. If I couldn’t refinish another strip of flooring today, at least I could relax on a quiet beach.
But the soft rattling of seeds in the package was impossible to ignore.
So I put on dirty tennis shoes and our homemade bug spray and half-heartedly strolled down to our garden glade.
Only 10 minutes worth of rich soil under my nails, only 600 seconds worth of “play in the dirt” time, and I knew she was right. This was exactly where I wanted to be. Elbow to elbow with my daughter, investing in our land, our relationship, our harvest.
So we discussed the top ten reasons we think everyone should make sure they play in the dirt this summer…
# 1. Gardens are venues of daily miracles, one tiny green sprout at a time. The “promise” of May blooms and bears fruit in August…
# 2. Gardening just feels good. Warm brown dirt on your palms is as rejuvenating to an adult as squishy play dough is irresistible to a toddler.
# 3. It offers a good return for your investment. For $1.35, we planted enough rows to produce 30-40 ears of corn. Today at the market, ears were 2 for $1. That’s about 28-38 ears for free.
# 4. Truly nothing tastes as delectable as fresh-picked, sun-warmed vegetables carried from your garden to your table. A cucumber that is stretching in the sun’s soothing rays one minute is in your kitchen the next, washed, peeled, and offering chunks of summertime goodness from a cool pottery bowl.
# 5. Surely the satisfaction of growing it yourself is part of why it tastes so good. Or, as Miranda Lambert croons, “what ever happened to… doing it all by hand, ’cause… it’s only worth as much as the time put in.”
# 6. Delayed gratification is sorely lacking in our lives today. Sometimes having to wait ninety days till harvest is good for our soul.
# 7. You never know what unexpected botany lessons may resonate with your child forever. You never know what life lesson may result from just minutes you give her to play in the dirt. How magical is the day when one realizes that the fruit is truly the swollen ovary, which is expanding to protect the seeds developing under the beautiful bloom, which attracted the insect, which pollinated the plant, which has the ultimate purpose of providing us with wholesome goodness.
# 8. You never know what you might notice when you take time to slow down and, well, smell the daisies.
I’d love to share with you a great resource for all gardeners—a free printable page to help you document all the important information you might like to know about each plant in your garden! My printable Garden Plant ID Page is just one of many awesome resources in my subscriber-only library. Share your email with me in the box below and I’ll send you the link and your password immediately! —>
#9. Your dog would love the chance to spend more time with you outside. If he’s like Bixby, our sweet, rescued Labradoodle, he’ll regally guard your garden plot with a watchful eye while you labor. Or… finally…
# 10. If nothing else, gardening will give some dogs a very good excuse for a nap in the early morning sunshine.
Regardless of the reason you may decide to play in the dirt this summer, if you’re elbow to elbow with a child basking in the summer’s morning glow, listen to them talk about what’s on their mind, and take advantage of those few fleeting moments to impress on their heart the depth of God’s grace and the beauty of His provisions.
My family enjoys adding ID pages about our garden plants to our Backyard Book, our heirloom book of nature memories. If you’d like to access your own printable Garden Plant ID Page in my subscriber-only library, subscribe at the bottom of this page.
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them, for this is their reward. Ecclesiastes 5:18
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As soon as you subscribe, you’ll have immediate access to my subscriber library of resources, which I’m continually adding to. You’ll enjoy lots of printables, including your own printable Garden Plant ID Page and my popular e-booklet: 5 Things You Should Know About Nature Study.
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