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Backyard Gardening with Kids

Updated on August 2, 2013

Backyard Gardening

My family is about to start our garden and making our backyard a fun place for kids to be. So, I'll share some ideas that we have about designing our backyard.

The first few ideas I will share right away include getting rid of pesky rodents without using poisons or traps that could endanger children and starting the summer off right by making the back yard kid friendly.

Soon, I will tell you how we are progressing with the above and how our vegetable garden plans are coming a long. I'll also tell you how we end up using our chicken's scat as a fertilizer.

The Setting for Our Yard

We live in a very dry, windy place in Southern Colorado. The soil is like sand. Yet, many of my neighbors have lush, green gardens and back yards. We plan to imitate some of their techniques to make our garden and backyard productive while remaining kid friendly.

We currently have a trampoline, a space for a garden, a bunch of trees, and a chicken coop (they make great fertilizer).

We also have an organic composter. The problem is, we don't know the best way to utilize all of these for our particular soil composition and climate. We've been successful in other places we've lived. We look forward to taking on the challenge and plan to write about them as the summer progresses.

Making the backyard kid friendly- especially for birthdays

If you haven't read my profile yet, you may not know that I have 6 kids. I want my backyard to be a place where they and their friends will congregate. We've already added a swing set, but that's not much fun for tweens who are about to be teens. We have a trampoline, but the net was destroyed recently after years of use.

We're thinking about getting a bouncy house that can accommodate a wide range of ages. The one we are looking at is good for kids 36 months to 15 years old. We could take it down when it is windy and put it up for special occasions. We have a half an acre, so there is plenty of room.

My kids also seem to have their birthdays clustered at similar times of the year. They said that they would love to have one or two really big birthday bashes instead of 6 small, boring parties. So, we're thinking that we'll include the bouncy house as part of our birthday expenses this year and it will end up being cheaper in the long run than paying for parties at the local pizza venues or skating rinks. We could also have spontaneous neighborhood parties.

Adding the Bouncy House

Learn from my mistake

I work for SwagBucks and used some of the gift cards I earned from that site to buy a bouncy house on Amazon.com. I looked at the picture ad in the search. It said that the recommended age was 3-15 years old- I thought that was super since my kids range in age from 8 months to 11 1/2 years.

If I had read more carefully the poorly entered product description, I would have found out before it arrived that it was really designed for 3-8 years old. When you look at the description, it looks like someone copied and pasted it, but the formatting came out all wrong.

In spite of that, our kids, those that are 4-11 1/2, are using it and having a ball!

Getting rid of rodents without poison

Lastly, in my neighborhood, we have a problem with a rodent that eats our plants. People call the rodents many different things from pocket gophers, moles, voles, and more. We want to get rid of them because their holes are a tripping hazard for our kids. We do not want to use poison because that is dangerous around children and pets.

We've tried traps and flooding them out. Our dog tries to dig them out, making deep trenches. So our back yard was a wreck- It looked like a maze from all that digging.

Trees have died because their roots were chewed up. Plants flat out disappeared from the garden. Anyway, while we were on a walk, we met one of our neighbors for the first time- we've only lived here for 2 years.

My neighbor showed my husband his backyard and made a few recommendations for landscaping, gardening, and getting rid of those pesky rodents. He recommended a solar power sonic device. He has his spread out every 75 feet. He said the devices drove the critters into the neighbors' yards.

If we all had these devices, and moved them around regularly, we might drive them out of our neighborhood in a humane way. There are plenty of fields nearby where they wouldn't be a nuisance. Then, we could enjoy our trees and gardens without the costly replacement issues- at least not due to rodents.

We installed these devices one and half months ago. The critters' holes have all but disappeared. In other words, most of the varmints moved onto greener, less irritating pastures. The few remaining holes are at our fence line as opposed to near our house and middle of the back yard. We couldn't be more happy!

Our Garden Without Gophers

This is an update on what our garden looks like a year after installing the electric pest repeller. It's amazing what you can grow when your garden isn't eaten by hungry gophers!

Adding Pets

Many parents say that having pets teaches their kids responsibility. I say that pets help kids with responsibility. However, I like that pets also provide an instant companion for children.

Our family dog, Tigger, died of undiagnosed cancer at an estimated age of 9. Before his passing, he was a great walking companion for two of my sons, then 10 and 11. My 10 year old would just sit in the backyard with Tigger and enjoy his company. Other times, the kids would kick a ball around while Tigger chased it.

Now, we have chickens. While they are totally different than having a dog because they provide us food, my kids love taking care of our chickens. They look forward to getting the eggs, too. My 3 year old daughter often talks to the chickens and helps them dig holes- chickens like to dig up the dirt for dirt baths, which prevents bugs from finding a home in their feathers and other areas.

She loves to hold the chickens and is very gentle. She talks with them and they follow her around the yard.

I'm not telling you to get a dog or a flock chickens, but I do think that having pets does improve the backyard experience for kids!

When you add pets to your backyard, what kind(s) of pet(s) do you prefer? What do you like about your favorite type of pet(s)?

What is your favorite pet?

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