Aerating the back 40

I've bragged/complained about the primordial ooze in my 8th acre garden, it is a fine, high-organic silt, jet black and when wet you WILL lose a shoe in it.
I haven't really done much, added 20-year composted turkey shit one year, threw a couple 60 lb. bags of sand at the low end with the hope of lowering viscosity and increasing drainage (this soil will hold water for just about ever). The sand was pretty much overwhelmed before it had a chance to do anything beneficial. That's how fine and rich this stuff is.
This year, what with all the various manner of peppers going into that dirt, I'm considering improving drainage with either perlite or peat. I could use a little helpful input. YES, I've had good harvests with anaheims and the aji lemon drops I've grown, but they started out very very slow, as if the shock of a denser medium stopped the mechanism to grow and proliferate. I wonder if better aeration could improve on the harvests I now get.
The black ooze is approximately 12 to 18 inches deep before hitting a solid and much deeper floor of pure clay, hard enough that I can't get a spade more than a couple inches into at a full swing, obviously adding to the retaining quality of my muck.
So, thoughts?
woodchips, layered year after year.
I forget the name of the process but someone will chime in.
RCW Ramial Chipped Wood
I know Gary (Windchicken) is knowledgeable about this.
maybe plant early crops of peas before pepper plantout. I think i read that the legume roots grow rather deep and nitrogen fixing doesn't hurt either.
Well, maybe not.  The polyacrylamide can decompose to acrylamide, a neurotoxin.  Ooops.
I really don't know, but have heard about the following...
The local rock and soil shop has pecan shells for $22 a cubic yard. These are supposed to work fairly well.
Maybe a few bales of straw ?
Just about any organic mulch.  Wood chips, bark, etc. won't hurt.
Enough peat will do the trick, but it's somewhat spendy.
Rice hulls (cheap), cocoa bean hulls (spensive), also planting a cover crop like vetch and tilling it in.
EDIT: Looks like cocoa hulls are cheaper than I remember.
I would go with a raised bed so you can amend / control the area you need to grow on unless you really plan on growing on every inch.  This way you can amend with coco peat - coir and perlite as needed without spending too much money since both options are rather expensive. 
Here is a great resource on how to determine exactly how much silt, clay, and sand you have and how to amend to create the perfect "loamy" soil we all dream of...
I had to wait for a bit of thawing before I could do this, but I'm doing the Mason Jar Soil Composition test from the site LGHT recommended as I type...

Not sure what to expect, other than a LOT of silt.
stickman said:
Have you thought about setting up raised beds? You could control soil porosity much better that way, and since the raised bed would be on top of the clay, drainage wouldn't be a problem. If you want to penetrate and break up the soil, you could plant oilseed radishes as a fall crop. They'd frost-kill and rot completely away by May.
Thanks Rick, some good ideas.
Overnite on the primordial ooze:

I haven't done anyspeculating yet on this, just took the picture. MAN, that sand is black too!
I see demarcations @ 300 & just a fuzz above 400. I appear to be heavier in the sand-size particles afterall, but that sand doesn't look normal to me.
More analysis to come...
I find the soil test instructions to be a little more clear at  Either way you need to make lines on the jar at the recommended periods.  As time goes on, the silt and clay particles will settle into the layers below so you need marks to memorialize the layers as they occur.
But yea, everyone ALWAYS over estimates the amount of silt and clay they have.  Even here in Georgia, where every single person in the area says they have pure clay soil, our soils are over 60% sand.
As for improving drainage, my first step would always be a chemical aeration with a soil conditioner or surfactant.  Don't get your panties in a twist, I'm talking stuff you literally rub into your skin and scalp every single day - SLS (or SLES, but some people have concerns about possible contamination).  Can also use yucca, but it is much more expensive, although that might not be a concern with only 1/8 an acre.
You can find lots of info on the web.  Because surfactants such as SLS and SLES are found in shampoo (and soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, face wash, etc etc), you will find lots of people refer to chemical aeration as "shampooing their soil".  I personally mix up my own brew using the power linked above but the majority of people just use baby shampoo or dish soap.
Golf courses will many times use commercially available products, but that is not normally practical for homeowners because of the quantities involved.  A little of this stuff goes a long way.
Two to four oz of baby shampoo mixed in a minimum of one gallon of water per 1000 sq ft. Cheapest stuff you can find is the fine. If it's really bad you could go up to 10oz per 1k without harm.

If you are just staring, try every two weeks. If you start to get good results you can then go to one app a month. Maintenance applications would be two times per growing season once you get the soil where you want it.

Go to for more info. It's a lawncare site but they are some total soilheads over there.
Have you done a soil sample with the extension yet? From what I'm reading, you might have a Magnesium deficiency. If so, more compost and Magnesium may be a help with making your soil more workable.