Answer: While clay soil in and of itself is not considered well drained, it is possible to work with the soil by adding copious amounts of organic matter (such as compost, rotted leaves, well-aged stable manure/bedding)plus a small amount of coarse sand or grit. These amendments will help the soil hold both air and water and as a result be a healthier environment for roots.
Sometimes, gardening on even a slight slope will also help significantly in improving drainage. In a landscaping situation, you may be better off in the long run to select plants that tolerate clay soil happily. In a vegetable garden situation, you may be happier using raised beds and gardening along square foot or similar intensive methods.
Your county extension should be able to help you with some basic soil tests and interpreting the results as well as make recommendations based on the test results. Their phone number is 287-4761.
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