How Do I Improve Heavy Clay Soil in the Garden?

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Good morning! If you, like me, are gardening  in clay soil you know that clay can be..  

uh challenging is probably putting it lightly.  Clay soil can be very difficult to work with- it's  

heavy, it's dense, it's difficult for delicate  plant roots to penetrate. The saving grace of  

clay soil is that it typically is fairly high  in nutrients and does hold moisture. The key is  

unlocking those nutrients so that they're  accessible to your plants and loosening up that  

soil texture. So today I wanted to share with  you my top methods for improving clay soil in  

the garden. Now you will know you have clay soil  because when you dig down into it and grab a clump  

when you go to try and crumble  it it typically does not crumble  

but rather will form into a sticky  ball reminiscent of potter's clay.  

Now compare that to clay soil that's been  amended and when I grab a chunk of this  

it crumbles apart in my hands rather than forming  a sticky ball. Now one of the most common tidbits  

of advice given for dealing with clay soil is  to add organic matter. And this is great advice  

don't get me wrong, but it may not be entirely  clear what exactly is meant by organic matter  

and there are so many options how do you know  where to start? Organic matter basically refers to  

anything from nature, so plant or animal material  and these materials are ideally used after they've  

partially rotted down or in a composted state.  And as far as what the best option for you is,  

that's going to depend it's going to depend on  where you live and what your resources are. So  

my advice is to use what you have. I've got  leaves galore- you may have pine needles. We  

use leaf mold, grass clippings, straw or hay from  local farmers, or green manure from chopped down  

cover crop residues. Other great options include  biochar, earthworm castings, composted wood chips  

and good old compost. And you might be asking  'okay so I add organic matter... how exactly do I  

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