He lost both his legs eight years ago after a jack slipped and a car fell on him. Now living at Grace Living Center on 3233 N.W. 10th, he gets around in a motorized wheelchair and has access to an outdoor garden.
“It started off full of big weeds,” Hernandez said. “I cleared all of those out and kept cultivating and cultivating until I worked the soil.” It took him nearly three years to get the garden going strong. Most of the seeds are donated.
“I always save the seeds from one year to the next,” he said.
Hernandez grows a variety of plants in the garden, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, mint and flowers. He handles all the gardening tasks on his own. “A lot of people like the mint, because it is very good for tea,” said the 57-year-old Hernandez.
He gives the vegetables, which are ripe and ready for eating, to the center’s staff and other residents.
“I spend about two and a half hours in the garden each day,” he said. “I water and take care of all the plants.”
Laquita Christian, administrator at Grace Living Center, said the gardening is therapeutic not only for Hernandez, but for other residents, as well.
“They get to come out and view the garden and see what he is working on,” she said. “It gets them out of the room and they can come enjoy the weather. He doesn’t have help working in the garden. Every day, rain or shine, he comes out to work on the garden.”