Phil Hawkins wrote:I think it was Jack Spirko (possibly in a podcast with Paul) where he said (something like) if permaculture was about cooking, it would consist of an encyclopaedia of the properties of every ingredient and cooking utensil, but without recipes.
you have to think of the peat moss as adding the sponge factor to your soil when you have insufficient humus
to hold ten times it's weight in water for water retention, mainly...where as vermiculite is just MICA that has been
popped like pop corn and it is super lite weight now and portable .I was using some tonight in fact as a top dressing on
a raised bed which i had just intensively planted as a way to keep the surface from drying out providing better germination.
60 days later............
when crops get harvested that vermiculite will get incorporated back into the soil mix further lightening it up allowing
for easier root penetration which makes for bigger plants and higher yields down the road which is always your goal.
if your worried about the sustainability of peat moss you can swap it out for coconut coir. you can buy verm a bit cheaper from the big box hardware store from the insulation section rather than the gardening department. also 2 twaeks to get the most out of your raised beds add in some mixed rock dust to mineralize the soil and some mycorrhizal/bacterial inoculant as the mix is pretty sterile
To tge OP: do it!
Nothing that bad could come of it, and it could be great. I started out in sub irrigated planters, moved to raised beds, and am currtly building a hugel bed, amending my raised beds with wood, and peeing all over my two feet high and growing lasagna bed.
I have had some abject failures but the only plantings I regret are the ones I failed to try.