Answer: A shale type soil can be improved by adding organic matter to it and by using organic mulches year round in your garden. You can use compost, milled spagnum peat moss, rotted down autumn leaves, well aged stable manure/bedding, spent mushroom soil, or other organic material that you can find locally at a reasonable cost (or collect for free)to amend the soil. Failing that, you may not be able to grow grass but perhaps you can build some raised beds and have flowers all around. Wish I had more solutions!
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