When suspecting poor soil, perform a soil texture test. This is done by filling a quart jar half-way with water. Add soil until the jar is nearly full. Put on the lid and shake until well combined. Set the jar aside and wait until the soil settles (from a couple of hours to a day). Clay will be on top, silt in the middle and sand on the bottom. Measure the thickness of each level and divide each thickness by the total thickness of all of the layers. This will give you a percentage. If the soil is less than 25% silt or more than 25% clay, you need to add 2 or 3 inches plant matter like compost, humus, or manure. If you have more than 30% sand, you need to add twice as much plant matter.
Next you should purchase a soil test kit. These are available at your local garden center, but unfortunately they only test for NPK and pH levels. Try the agricultural dept. or geology department at your local college or university. If they are not able to do the test for you, then they should be able to provide you with a source for a test kit. Be sure to tell them you want to test for trace elements. Once you know specifically what you are lacking, you will have a better idea of how to go about replenishing it.
Offered by Roger.