When I began gardening, I had red clay everywhere. I gradually amended my soil using newspapers, shredding paper, and mulch. I could get the mulch for free from local tree trimmers. In a couple of years, it would biodegrade to rich, black gold. Over the course of about 10 years, I amended my entire yard, which is now a botanical garden. (I have no lawn at all anymore.) I still get the fresh mulch from tree trimmers. In fact, they dumped a load this morning for me. I'll use it next to my potting area to start a compost pile.