The singer who once wrote that breaking up is hard to do may have been a gardener in North Carolina. Although North Carolina has over 400 soil types statewide, piedmont soil with a heavy clay substrate is the most common soil found throughout North Carolina. The soil can be improved by mixing organic amendments such as compost into it. But first, you must break up the clay, which is slippery when wet and rock-hard when dry.
Time your project for late spring when the soil is moist but not wet. Tilling wet soil will cause it to compact.
If your soil is still wet, break it up by digging with a spading fork. Turn the soil over and break up clods with the fork.
Allow exposed soil to dry in the sun and air.
Mist the soil to soften it and then let it dry again.
Rake the soil to break up the remaining clods.
Break up the soil more thoroughly using a rototiller. At this point, you can spread organic amendments over the surface of your oil and turn them under with the rototiller. In the future, the presence of these organic amendments will make it easier to till your damp soil.