I have mostly clay soil in my front and back gardens and despite amending it for the last couple of years and adding mulch in the spring and fall I still find after our long winters the soil hardens and becomes somewhat compacted. My perennials and shrubs are making an appearance but I’d like to loosen the soil up a bit before adding any mulch or amendments and I’m wondering what’s the best way of going about this that will not damage any of them. Is it best done when the soil is wet and how deep should one go?
You are doing the right thing by putting compost, peat, shredded leaves and humus into the soil. Top dress the bed and just lightly turn or twist the soil to loosen it up and and the worms will do the rest. You will find that your plants will do better every year. Remember that is a life time project. I have been working my garden soil for over 38 years and it is, believe it a good crumbly soil and when I dig into the soil to plant their are worms which turn my soil over and over. The earthworm show that the casting contain far more nutrients than the surrounding soil. Just remember you feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants. You are doing the proper thing to your soil just remember that it take more than just a few years.