Even though I have the worst track record, I am going to attempt to grow a little vegetable garden of my own. First thing I had to do was figure out what kind of soil I have. Apparently, dirt is not just dirt. It could be sand, clay, silt, cotton candy, jellybeans.... Depending on what your soil is made up of, you've gotta know what to add to it to make the perfect combo of soil. Living in Phoenix, I knew that my soil was not the best.
So all you have to do is take like half of a jar of soil (make sure there aren't any big rocks or sticks) and fill it up with a tablespoon each of laundry detergent and salt. Fill the rest of the jar with water and shake it. I mean shake it, shake it, shake it. When you think you can't shake anymore, shake it some more. OK, so only for 5 minutes, but it feels a lot longer.
Let it sit for a while and once all the particles have settled, see what you are working with. Here are the layers, sand is supposed to settle to the bottom first, then silt, and then clay. As you can see, I have a slight *humpth* clay issue.