Messed up my containers - Help me plan for next season!
Hello, All! I hope you're all doing well and are staying happy.
So here's the story:
I'm an amateur tomato grower who's been trying for a few years to grow big plants in containers. I've had reasonable success in past seasons, but never have been able to get a consistently high yield and/or strong plants; it's more of a roller-coaster.
This year I think I finally figured out why.
Through much research and reading up on these forums, I've come to the conclusion that it's because I'm doing my container soil all wrong - In that I'm using *soil* instead of the correct method. This season I joyously and diligently mixed lovely compost and manure with soft and loamy topsoil, adding copious amounts of love, and healthy measures of peat moss. My plants aren't unhealthy per se, but they seem to be plateauing much earlier than they should be.
So here's where I ask for your insight and knowledge. What do I add to heavy, compacted soils to lighten them up for next season's planting? I have heard that Perlite and Vermiculite are good for loosening the mix, but how much will I need to properly aerate my heavy container concoction? Remember, it's composed of (approximately) 2 Parts Topsoil, 2 Parts Compost and manure, and 1 part Peat Moss.
The container sizes range from a 5 gallon pot to a half-wine barrel.
What a mouth full! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your responses.