Small Garden with Big Possibilities

Grow a small garden with big possibilities for any backyard the improve your way of life.

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I discovered small scale gardening with big possibilities at our farm.

We sold that place in 2017 and since the move, I’ve had a difficult time feeling settled.  Then a year ago, I realized I was never supposed to get cozy here.

This property wasn’t our nest, instead a place for others to nest…

This should have clicked right away after we subdivided but for some reason, I went into nesting mode.


From the beginning I found myself clearing land with Robert and establishing smaller raised beds. The goal was to keep things simple and for the most part that happened.

I began near the creek, then brought in a few more beds.

Then after our dog, Dixie passed I decided to move everything into one area.


At times I felt like a unsatisfied gardener with all this moving around.

I was trying to nest when all along discovering the endless possibilities a small garden offered.


I was able to share all of this here on the blog which is pretty sweet.

But most of all, I was able to help others see that taller beds are much easier to maintain verses 4 ft. x 8 ft. shorter raised beds.

Friends, I’ve gardened in all avenues over the year and I’ve learned a lot, mostly this…

Successful gardening involves basic common sense.


Gardening for me began at Grandma’s where she taught me natural tips proven to work for generations. That was a neat time and back then the majority of gardens began in open spaces.

So, for a period of time open space and landscaping is how gardening was passed down.  It made sense and how I gardened at our first two homes while raising a family.

This style is still popular, it’s beautiful but it also takes hours to maintain.


When we bought our farm, that same style of gardening continued but now we were growing in acre fields with a few landscaped gardens.

It was a lot of work, even with everyone pitching in.

When the nest emptied, I realized something had to give and decided to add my first set of raised beds.


Each style of gardening led me to grow using smaller and taller raised beds.  This is when I began to really enjoy the process and discovered the beauty of amending soil.

It came down to learning that small gardens really do offer big possibilities.



The Gardens at Quail Grove

The gardens at Quail Grove turned out better than I could imagine and I’ve really enjoyed them…


But sometimes all good things come to an end…


When Robert and I decided to move forward last month, I knew the number of beds would need to shrink from nine to three.

There was just no way I could maintain a large garden with monthly visits and go on the road at the same time.


So, before we left, I got to work fast.

The goal was to break down all the beds except for one…


Then I had to establish two more, like the bed in the first photo.

This was accomplished by recycling frames to bring together yet another Startle Garden style in two days…


Stacking Raised Beds

I took 2 ft. x 4 ft. frames that were sitting empty and began to stack.   What’s the advantage of taller raised beds you might wonder?

  • Moist soil for long periods which is great when temperatures rise and perfect when temperatures drop.
  • Fewer weeds sometimes none at all.
  • Soil is always amending with natural material added through the seasons.
  • Bottom line, easier to maintain and they look amazing in full bloom.



The foundation of any successful garden, begins with the soil.

These beds sit on open ground, welcoming the worms. Worm activity is like having 24-hour garden helpers as they amend for you.

This means easy seasonal maintenance long term when you implement tips found in the Startle Garden growing system. 


Filling Taller Raised Beds

I won’t joke, filling taller raised beds is a work out and most of the time I like to do this in stages.

Since I already had soil handy, filling involved a lot of digging and moving dirt.

First, I added a layer of sticks gathered from the property.  Hardy debris takes longer to decompose and offers a great foundation.


Additional Materials Could Include:

  • Leaves or pine needles
  • Grass clippings
  • Food waste
  • Chicken and fish bones
  • Mucked hay and manure and I think you get where I’m going…


Light natural matter, can be added in layers between soil and direct compost can be included year- round.

Which means you won’t need a compost bin with this system.


In the Fall and late Spring. I top off with additional mulch and soil where needed.

Taking a spade to mix and fluff dirt prior to planting annuals and adding perennials is another good practice.


Note, if you were to begin a tall raised bed like these from scratch, it would require at least 16 square feet of soil.



Finishing with Transplanting

When day two came, the beds were topped off and I carefully began transplanting perennial herbs, day lilies and annuals.

In the second bed, I brought over another drift rose propagated from the farm as they thrive in these beds.


I’ve been able to grow beautiful flowers, tasty berries, fresh vegetables and herbs from one season to the next with little effort.


Small gardens come in all sizes; the beautiful thing about Startle Garden you can decide how tall and how many raised beds would work best for your backyard.


With the desire, I know you can grow a successful garden, I’m here to help so let’s get to it…


Thanks for joining me, for questions or comments please submit below…

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West


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  1. Patti says:

    Carole, your raised beds are not only functional but beautiful. Every time I see them I want to make some. I promise. One day I will get to it.

    1. Carole West says:

      You will definitely get there friend… I’m off to get wood today to make a plant stand for my traveling garden.

  2. Jemma says:

    You are a remarkable woman!
    I so enjoy reading your thoughtful observations, gardening inspiration, guidelines for planting and such knowledge on raised beds.
    All of these topics and so many more which you truly are an expert in.
    I am wishing you well on this new journey and time spent with Robert too.
    No matter where you go, continue to spread joy and your inspirational can-do attitude.
    Hugs my Friend,

    1. Carole West says:

      You are sweet Jemma,
      Thank you for sharing such kind words… We’re doing well, getting back into a routine and hoping to visit the property next month to see how these raised beds are doing. Spreading joy… I’m on it…

      Hugs friend always great to hear from you,

  3. Christine says:

    I’ve always liked the look of raised beds. I helped my daughter last spring set up a couple in her new back yard and she loved them! So much easier to maintain and clean up in the fall is a snap! (Never mind the fact she didn’t have to bend down to pick weeds!) LOL! Great tips, as usual, my friend, and your gardens look amazing! I can’t wait to get out into mine! Happy Friday!

    1. Carole West says:

      You’ll have to consider raised beds when you get settled into your new place. I defiantly don’t miss pulling weeds and love how easy they are to maintain. Hopefully it’s beginning to warm up your way because I bet you have some pretty shades of green sprouting?
      Happy Sunday!

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