Question: The soil on one side of my house is heavy clay and plants don’t seem to do well in it. What’s the best way to improve this soil?
Answer: Organic matter is your best tool to lighten a heavy clay soil. Composts or biosolids soil products should be available either from your local nursery or municipality. You can put compost on the soil to about 6 inches deep and use a tiller to incorporate it. It does not need to be mixed well; one or two passes will suffice.
Do this for a few years and you will see improvement over time. You can also make a “lasagna” on your soil: Layer leaves, straw, and manure in the fall on the surface of the soil. Cover it with burlap so it stays tidy. In the spring, you should be able to turn the soil with a shovel. Again, you will see improvements over time.
Have a question for Soils Matter? Post it as a comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org