Benefits of Clay Soil
Yep, you read that right- there are benefits, believe it or not.
The term, "clay soil" can strike fear into the hearts of most gardeners, and understandably so. Almost every plant we read about requires well draining soil, and that's one thing clay soil is not! We all are familiar with the number one down-side to having it, and that's the fact that it drains poorly- which most plants do not like. What they do like, though, is nutrients, and clay soil is incredibly nutrient rich. If the water table isn't too high (this is key) then you can work with it successfully.
Your biggest chance of success gardening in clay soil is to plant plants that actually LIKE growing in it.
Here are a few:
Another thing you can do to help your plants is to apply a 3-4" layer of organic material, like compost, right on top of your soil- around your plants. Rain will help the organic material to decompose and improve the consistency of your existing soil. A thick layer of shredded bark mulch will also prevent the soil from drying out and becoming as hard as a rock.
One last bit of advice on gardening in clay soil: If you're growing vegetables, don't even try to grow them in the clay soil. It's best to just grow them in raised beds… filled with a truckload of fluffy planting mix.