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If your soil is claylike or sandy, there is still hope, but it will take a little bit of prep work. Adding decomposed organic matter like compost or humus—which you can buy at garden centers—will help both kinds of soil. It aerates clay soil, creating space for roots to burrow deeper, and promotes growth aboveground. It also allows sandy soil to clump together better, giving roots better access to the nutrients and water stored in the ground.

What kinds of plants grow best in your area?

Promote the loamy quality of your garden by adding organic matter to the earth throughout the growing season and allowing it to decompose. This includes grass clippings (but only from grass that isn't chemically treated), plant cuttings, thinned seedlings, weeds that have not gone to seed and compost.

Measure your soil's fitness

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