My main hobby is gardening. I eat from my garden, 450 m^2, year round, and even have lots of extra space to play around, grow flowers or experiment. I see many new (US) instructables with raised beds, inspired by a popular book (Batholomeuw). It claims to have higher yields, and lower requirements of water, and work. In Europe, we are unfamiliar with this method (unless for elderly or handicapped people). It raises a few questions, but only to be answered by folks having experience in BOTH traditional methods AND the raised bed garden: In normal circumstances, do the claims of this method uphold? Adding the soil mix: 1/3 vermiculite (=clay), 1/3 peat and 1/3 compost. What kind of compost? Where does it come from? About the yearly renewing of the soil|:- again, where does the compost come from? For compost making: Is the household excess sufficient, or does extra material has to be added?? Why are these questions important? Gardening in the traditional way is nearly carbon neutral, unless all physical work is mechanized. But (the concept of) soil ecology is very precious; just covering it and putting this mix over it almost alarms me!